The third period title seemed so close to ADO Den Haag recently, but after the hopeless defeat against Heracles Almelo (0-3) it is suddenly miles away. Dick Advocaat’s team must hope for a miracle to get their hands on the Bronze Shield.
‘Death before dishonor’, it read in large letters. In the Aad Mansveld grandstand, a creative banner beforehand left no misunderstanding about this. In any case, ADO had to go down fighting in the ‘match of the year’. And the team fought. But the club from The Hague never came close to what it so desperately needed against Heracles: a victory.
It is a painful observation after a match for which everything had to give way at ADO last week. After all, for this ‘first of two finals’, as it was experienced by almost everyone at the Hague club, a quarter-final in the cup tournament against PSV was wasted. Dick Advocaat chose to leave a large part of his A-team on the bench, so that his best players could start the duel with Heracles in top shape. After the lost match against Heracles, Lawyer was asked by ESPN what he thinks of the criticism about that choice against PSV, especially now that it has not helped. “I don’t care,” was the clear answer.
An oh so important game, which had to be won because Almere City is now above the team from The Hague in the period standings. ADO could have taken pole position with a win to take the third period title. The team could then have finished visiting TOP Oss on Friday and thus removed all play-off concerns. Only a victory against the Almeloans was never in the cards.
From the first minute, the number two in the Kitchen Champion Division was much stronger than ADO, which fought but fell short everywhere on the field against the smart football team from Overijssel. In the eleventh minute it already led to the opening goal of Nikolai Laursen, who scored from a free kick. ADO then also failed to get a grip on the agile Heracles players. After a blunder by Sonny Stevens, Justin Hoogma was able to tap into the rightful 0-2 just before half-time.
And even after the break, ADO, which was overrun in an un-Advocate way, had no chance except for a number of teasing blows. Time after time, the outlawed Heracles attackers were allowed to cut through the defense of The Hague, which led to Rigino Cicilia’s 0-3 after many missed opportunities in Overijssel in the 83rd minute. There was little left for the green-yellow formation, as a result of which ADO suffered a league defeat for the second time under Advocaat.
Advocaat was obviously disappointed by the defeat, but afterwards also chose to keep the positivity in it. ,,It makes little sense to bring things down after tonight, because we still have enough games left. We were already surprised that we got this far in the third period. If you get this far you want to get him. We have to move on”, said the trainer from The Hague.
The defeat comes at an extremely unpleasant moment, now that the team from The Hague should have won this ‘final’. But the harsh reality is that this ADO came up short against a crafty team like Heracles. And that ADO still has exciting weeks ahead in which a place in the play-offs must be secured through the competition – or perhaps through the fourth period title. Because ADO seems to have to forget the third period title, which must hope for a loss of points from Almere City (at home against Jong FC Utrecht) and NAC (at home against MVV).
Willem II loses lead
Cuco Martina helped NAC to a 2-1 win over PSV’s reserves team, while Jong Ajax lost 2-1 to TOP Oss in Amsterdam. Willem II relinquished a 2-0 lead in the away match against Jong AZ: 2-2. Dylan Vente was again important for Roda JC with two goals, which won 1-3 at Jong FC Utrecht. The former Feyenoord player is now the top scorer of the first division with 16 goals to his name.
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