ADO Den Haag’s run of playing away from home in the KNVB Beker (Cup) continued on Tuesday night when they took the journey to Almere City of the Jupiler league for this 2nd round fixture. After ADO’s last two drawn games, Almere must have been fancying their chances of creating a cup shock.
The night turned out to be a bizarre one, also an unhappy one for ADO. The game started off pretty much even, ADO then began to easily contain the hosts and have some strikes on goal which did not really threaten to change the score.
ADO’s Roland Alberg was the major threat in the opening phase, forcing the Iranian goalkeeper of Almere, Agil Etemadi, into action on a couple of occasions, most noticeable from a free kick in the seventh minute.
After the opening fifteen minutes, the game turned into a battle of attrition. The tackling was strong, no prisoners being taken, the referee, Mulder, did well to keep the peace between the sides, yet it never looked like boiling over, it was a real cup tie.
With two minutes remaining of the first half ADO got themselves in front. Mitchell Schet sent over a cross from the right hand side, Mike van Duinen rose high, beating the defender and heading the ball into the back of the net, 0-1.
The second half saw ADO start strongly, but they were soon pegged back as the second division side fought to get back level. Timothy Derijck had to be at his best to prevent the ADO defence being broken down. It was looking as though ADO had the game under control.
Almere got level in the sixty fifth minute, a cross from Leon de Kogel was met by the head of Vincent Janssen, the ball flew into the back of the net giving Robert Zwinkels absolutely no chance, 1-1.
Disaster struck ADO in the seventieth minute. Janssen raced goalwards and ADO’s Derijck just grabbed the forward in an effort to stop Almere’s attack. It was a clear foul and as Derijck was the last man, the referee had no choice but to send the defender off.
The game began to become very tense, it was not until the ninetieth that both sides came close to scoring. Both Michiel Kramer and Dion Malone found themselves in one on one situations with Etemadi, the keeper winning the battle of nerves both times, making saves with his legs. Extra time was calling, yet two minutes into injury time Almere almost won it. Janssen was just short of making contact with a cross into the ADO area. A let off for ADO and then the referee blew for full time.
The first half of extra time was pretty quiet. The second period was not much better, but It kicked into life in the 111th minute. Janssen again a thorn in ADO’s side. He made space, found Gaston Salasiwa, who then beat Zwinkels. The home supporters exploded into raptures, a shock was on the cards, 2-1.
Five minutes later and ADO rescued themselves. Sander Keller pulled down Kramer inside the penalty area. Referee had no option but to issue the same punishment that had already been delivered to Derijck. So ten men each and ADO had a penalty. Thomas Kristensen took the kick and calmly beat the keeper, 2-2.
The clock ran down and so it was to dreaded penalties, and what a crazy shoot out it was. Janssen took the first for Almere and scored, 1-0. Kristensen then missed. Fabian Serrarens also missed for Almere. Aaron Meijers then saw his penalty saved. Zwinkels then saved the penalty of Ezio Boldewijn. Zuiverloon also had his kick saved. The ADO keeper saved again, this time preventing Salasiwa from scoring. Malone lost his nerve and smashed the ball high over the bar. Jason Oost then scored the deciding penalty, 2-0.
A disastrous shoot out for both teams, but in the end, the hosts squeezed through at ADO’s expense. Can ADO have any real complaints? No, not really. When ADO have lost this season, at least they battled, this game, too often they switched off, lost concentration and allowed Almere too much time and space. So now out of the cup, just the league to play for. Disappointing to say the very least.
Attendance: 1, 945
ADO Den Haag: Zwinkels; Zuiverloon, Derijck Kanon Meijers; Kristensen, Alberg (82 Malone), Jansen (64 Bakker); Schet (64 Houtkoop), Kramer, van Duinen.