The Utrecht Aussies are in the thick of the action as the top three open up a gap over the chasing pack in Eredivisie round nine.
The big surprise is that Ajax and Feyenoord are not in the top bracket and they may fall even further off the pace as they face each other this weekend.
Tommy Oar returned to the Lowlands after his wonderful cameo role for Australia in Doha and continued to make an impact as Utrecht earned a 2-1 win away at ADO Den Haag.
Interestingly, Jan Wouters opted to start the 20-year-old on the left side on the midfield four, but he spent plenty of time cutting inside to support the front two. Adam Sarota played on the right side of midfield and looked at his sharpest.
Oar provided a simple pass to Alexander Gerndt for Utrecht’s first in the 22nd minute, having gone a goal down after 15 minutes, while Adam Sarota showed some toe in skipping past the defence to put it on a plate for Jacob Mulenga late in the first half.
The win puts Utrecht in sixth place on the ladder with 15 points after nine games.
It’s tough at the top
Steve McClaren’s FC Twente has been cruising along this season with seven wins and just the one loss away to Ajax, but dropped two points as it drew 1-1 in Limburg against Roda JC.
It was a frustrating night out for the Eredivisie leader, as evidenced by McClaren’s sideline outburst (2min 26 sec into this clip). For the record, the commentator describes his reaction as “helemaal gek”, which translates to “completely crazy”.
Despite the dropped points, the club from Enschede still holds a one-point lead over PSV.
PSV keeps pace
The Red and Whites took advantage of Twente’s slip-up to move within a point of the league summit, scoring three goals in 14 minutes in coming from behind to beat Willem II 3-2 at home.
Ajax pays the priceWhen you’re about to host Manchester City in a must-win midweek Champions League match followed by a trip to Rotterdam for the traditional Dutch “topper” against arch-rival Feyenoord, the last thing you need is to blow a 3-1 lead with 10 minutes to play against Heracles Almelo.
Ajax coach Frank de Boer and assistant Dennis Bergkamp will have a myriad of multi-syllabic Dutch swear words in mind as the Godenzonen (Sons of the Gods) look like they need a repeat of the pattern of the past two seasons in which they’ve had to claw their way back into title contention after poor starts.
The icing? The assist for Luis Pedro’s equalising goal in the 90th minute came from one of Ajax’s own players, Geoffrey Castillion, at Heracles on loan.
Heracles’ mascot, by the way, is a rabbit named Bultje, and he’s clearly not a beer bunny.
Vitesse rolls on
No such hiccups for Vitesse, which had little problem dispatching NAC Breda 3-0 to move to within a point of league leader FC Twente. Wilfried Bony helped himself to a brace, taking his season tally to 10 goals.
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