ADO Den Haag made the short trip to play Sparta Rotterdam in the wonderful Het Kasteel stadium on Sunday afternoon. ADO sold out their allocation of tickets, meaning there were 650 fans there to roar the yellow and greens on. ADO have taken ten points from their last four games and the feeling that four points from the last three games would be enough to guarantee survival.
The first half saw ADO come out fighting, knowing victory would keep them in the Eredivisie, every player played at the hardest. ADO pushed forward at every opportunity, giving their hosts no possession inside their own half.
Nasser El Khayati was justifying once again the faith shown in him by coach Fons Groenendijk. His twisting and turning sending the Sparta defence dizzy, and in the tenth minute got his reward in spectacular style.
Eduard Duplan cut inside midfield and playing El Khayati into plenty of space. He took the ball forward and from thirty metres out struck a bullet of a shot that gave the keeper no chance as it first hit the inside on the post before nestling in the other corner, a wonderful goal, 0-1.
ADO came close to a second when a cross from the right found Mike Havenaar lurking on the edge of the six yard box. His volley going skywards. For the rest of the half it was Sparta on the back foot. Not until injury time of the half did they get a shot on goal, a weak effort that didn’t trouble Robert Zwinkels.
The second half was the complete opposite of the first. Sparta were also desperate for the three points. For forty five minutes they made ADO defend. ADO camped on the edge of the penalty box as wave after wave of Sparta attacks came in. ADO fought hard giving no time or space to the opposition forwards. It was backs to the wall, but the hosts could not get through.
With seconds remaining Tyronne Ebuehi went close to scoring, but his miss was not to matter as the referee then blew for full time. ADO Den Haag were safe, the relegation threat lifted from their backs. The ADO support that included former favourite and Excelsior player Mike van Duinen in their ranks went wild, as did the players and staff. THe players soaked up the adulation they deserved. It was a real gutsy display, everyone playing their part, and they had too.