ADO v Sparta Rotterdam

ADO Den Haag had played well during their last three games, despite final results going against them by the top clubs. If ADO could keep their level of play up, there was a good chance ADO could get three points against Sparta, and so it proved to be.

ADO were quick on the attack and after three minutes it was Lex Immers who had the home side’s first shot on goal. The game was played mostly in the middle third of the pitch. It was mostly a scrappy half. Long balls, misplaced passes and poor finishing saw the game struggle to really get going.

Ragnar Ache forced ADO keeper, Robert Zwinkels into action as Sparta tried to penetrate the ADO defence, forcing a good save around the post. ADO went close twice soon after, but a lack of luck in front of goal showed again as both Erik Falkenburg and Bjørn Johnsen missed from close range.

Zwinkels was forced to block a stunning volley from Kenneth Dougall as the half came towards an end. The ADO keeper was the busier of the two men between the sticks, enhancing Zwinkels’s ever growing reputation. The teams went in at half time, 0-0.

The second half saw ADO start at a much higher pace and were soon rewarded for the increased effort. Forty nine minutes played and Nasser El Khayati received the ball on the corner of the area. He twisted the defenders inside and out before looking up and calmly placing the ball into the far corner, 1-0.

The goal ignited the stadium. The fans on the Midden Noord and those on Vak G behind the goal, chanted to each other, the volume just got louder as the half progressed, it was a stunning atmosphere.

In the fifty fifth minute were so close to doubling their lead. How ADO did not score is just amazing. In the space of thirty seconds of madness, ADO must have had around six or seven shots on goal from close range. The Sparta defence being brave, but their keeper and captain, Roy Kortsmit performed amazing acrobatics to keep the ball out. I have never seen such amazing agility from a keeper.

El Khayati was destroying the defenders in front of him. Every break he got, he was able to twist and turn into the penalty area, either trying a shot or laying off the ball to others. Yet with fifteen minutes remaining, and with ADO on top, Sparta still were dangerous. Zwinkels had to be at his best yet again to stop yet another good strike on goal.

The game went end to end, Tommie Beugelsdijk was playing magnificently, putting his body on the line, crunching tackles, organisation, he was a real leader.  the Sparta keeper was going up for corners, which almost cost them dearly as ADO broke. An empty net beckoned, but somehow ADO managed to fluff the chance as they wandered offside.

The final whistle lead to a big party in the stands and on the pitch. ADO had their first home win of the season, they looked confident. With a strong spine of Zwinkels, Tommie Beugelsdijk and Immers, ADO have something good to build on.