Unwell Twente player trains again – AZ can make European playoffs unnecessary
Unwell player FC Twente back on the field
The FC Twente player who became unwell on Sunday in the players’ bus after the match against FC Utrecht has now resumed training. “We are really very happy that he is back,” trainer Ron Jans reported to RTV Oost on Friday.
The footballer was released from the hospital on Monday and was back at the club on Tuesday. “I think there are still some results to come, but at least it has been ruled out that it could be really nasty things. We are very happy with that,” Jans said.
Due to privacy reasons, the player involved will not be disclosed.
FC Twente will play the sub-topper against Sparta at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday.
Aké misses FA Cup semifinal with Manchester City
Nathan Aké will definitely not play with Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Sheffield United. As expected, the Dutch defender did not recover in time from a hamstring injury suffered in the Champions League game with Bayern Munich a few days earlier.
“He is not ready yet,” coach Pep Guardiola said. “I don’t yet know exactly how bad the injury is. The examinations are still ongoing and I hope to get more clarity in the near future.”
In addition to the FA Cup, Manchester City is still odds-on in the Premier League and the Champions League. Aké has been a regular in the English champion’s team this season.
PEC on the brink of promotion to premier league
Tonight it can happen. A draw at Almere City FC is all PEC Zwolle needs to return to the premier league after one season in the first division.
Captain Bram van Polen assumes he won’t give this lead away with PEC Zwolle. “If we still give that away, we better hand in our contract,” he said.
Friday night’s program in the first division:
- FC Dordrecht – Jong AZ
- Roda JC – FC Den Bosch
- Willem II – TOP Oss
- FC Eindhoven – NAC Breda
- Helmond Sport – Heracles Almelo
- De Graafschap – ADO Den Haag
- Telstar – VVV-Venlo
- Almere City FC – PEC Zwolle
All duels start at 8 p.m. tonight.
Another cruciate ligament injury in women’s soccer: now England’s Williamson
Soccer star Leah Williamson must pass up next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
The captain of England national team coach Sarina Wiegman has torn the anterior cruciate ligament of her knee and faces a long rehabilitation.
Williamson is next in the long list of players dealing with a cruciate ligament injury. Players such as Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Alexei Putellas (FC Barcelona), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais) and Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain) all recently fell out with the same injury.
Vitesse must answer to KNVB over role of Abramovich
Vitesse must answer to the KNVB over the role of Roman Abramovich. Late last month, The Guardian reported that the wealthy Russian, who put a lot of money into Chelsea for years, would have secretly financed the Arnheimers.
Information accessed by The Guardian suggests that oligarch Abramovich reportedly transferred at least 117 million euros to finance Merab Jordania’s takeover of the Arnhem club in 2010.
The new information comes from the “Oligarch files,” leaked data from service provider MeritServus in Cyprus. In addition to The Guardian, the English Bureau of Investigative Journalism also accessed the documents.
Vitesse goes into a little more detail on its website. Indeed, the British newspaper’s revelations are delaying the takeover. “We are in frequent contact with the KNVB about this complex dossier. As is known, we recently submitted the new total package of documents there,” Peter Rovers, the general director ad interim, said about the takeover that is still not finalized.
“Meanwhile, the licensing committee also met, with ‘Vitesse’ as an agenda item. However, before the members will consider the documents provided, we are expected to have to answer a number of questions following the recent publication of The Guardian. We will do that to the best and quickest of our ability. This is expected to delay the review process, but of course it is also in our interest to do so carefully.”
Two weeks ago, Rovers reported that the full package of documents has been submitted to the KNVB licensing affairs office. “The members of the licensing committee will meet in mid-April to consider the submitted documents,” Rovers let it be known then. That will now presumably be later.
It is a turbulent time for Vitesse. The club recently had a conflict over the lease of Gelredome stadium. Moreover, things are not going as hoped from a sporting point of view. Vitesse is number 13 in the premier league.
Heitinga fears headers De Jong and Til
Coach John Heitinga knows that Ajax will have to watch out for PSV’s headers Sunday in the league topper (kickoff 2:30 p.m.), especially those of Luuk de Jong and Guus Til.
“We saw in the match for the Johan Cruijff Schaal where their strength lies,” the former international said at the press conference. “Especially with crosses from the flanks and in standard situations. We have to make sure we keep them out of our sixteen.”
Heitinga acknowledges that Ajax does not have the longest defenders, especially now that Edson Álvarez is absent due to a suspension. “We might be a little smaller, but we just have to make sure they can’t make those crosses. Or we have to make sure we have an extra man.”
Bassey replaces Álvarez
Heitinga told the press chat that Calvin Bassey will be Álvarez’s replacement at Philips Stadium on Sunday. “You don’t see it, but Calvin is a studious boy. We now give him the confidence that he will help us on Sunday,” the Amsterdammers coach said.
Heitinga expresses confidence in Bassey: ‘Not so complicated for me’
AZ talents also win in Youth League after penalty kicks
AZ has become the first Dutch team to reach the final of the Youth League, an equivalent of the Champions League but for under 19 teams. AZ won in Geneva after penalty kicks from Sporting Portugal. After 90 minutes it was 2-2.
AZ started the second half with a 2-1 lead, but got the 2-2 after only three minutes when Chico Lamba converted a penalty kick. Just before that, Jayden Addai committed a foul on Afonso Moreira of Sporting in the sixteen.
After that, no more goals were scored. AZ defender Finn Stam received a red card in injury time for an awkward foul on Mateus, who then would have had free passage to the goal.
AZ goalkeeper Owusu-Oduru turned away two penalties in the penalty series, becoming the hero of the AZ talents.
Slot balks at Feyenoord-FC Utrecht starting time
Arne Slot is disappointed that Feyenoord will face FC Utrecht at 16.45 Sunday. The Feyenoord coach would have preferred an 8 p.m. start time.
“We would have loved to play later. We also made that request to the KNVB, but unfortunately that is not possible for safety reasons,” Slot said Thursday night after the game with AS Roma. “So, as so often, it cannot be adjusted.”
Slot: ‘They won 4-1 from us, and that’s clever’
AZ talents ahead in Youth League
AZ talents went to rest with a 2-1 lead in the UEFA Youth League semifinals against Sporting Portugal’s peers.
Diogo Cabral shot the Portuguese into the lead in Geneva after nine minutes with a wonderful peal. Ernest Poku equalized after thirty minutes by working in his sixth goal in the Youth League.
Ro-Zangelo Daal’s 2-1 in the 36th minute was the most beautiful goal before halftime. The AZ striker shot the ball into the goal on the left side of the pitch with a beautiful curve and via the post.
The other Youth League semifinal is between the talents of AC Milan and Hajduk Split.
AZ title could make playoffs European soccer unnecessary
An eventual title for AZ in the Conference League could make European playoffs in the premier league unnecessary.
Should AZ finish in fifth place in the premier league, the playoffs for European soccer will no longer be useful, as AZ already holds the fifth European ticket.
The Alkmaarders will receive a ticket for the group stage of the Europa League if they win the Conference League.
The winner of the playoffs now gains entry to the second preliminary round of the Conference League. So that ticket expires if AZ wins the Conference League and finishes in fifth place.
Incidentally, there is still a long way to go, as AZ is now five points ahead of number five Sparta in the premier league standings.
The KNVB is aware of this scenario, but will only make a decision at a later stage once things become concrete.
Van Nistelrooij: ‘Winning starting point, unless match goes differently’
PSV hopes to create a gap with Ajax on Sunday regarding the battle for second place.
Still, as far as coach Ruud van Nistelrooij is concerned, next Sunday is not necessarily a matter of “having to. “Winning the match is our starting point, but you don’t know how the match will go,” said the coach.
PSV is battling with Ajax for second place. The clubs are equal in points, so a win would help the club from Eindhoven. “But there are still four games to play after that, which are also 12 points,” Van Nistelrooij pointed out.
‘Match in itself’
Van Nistelrooij says he has little to gain from PSV’s previous duels with Ajax. The Eindhoven natives won the last three encounters. “Every match stands on its own,” he believes.
He doesn’t think PSV is in better shape than Ajax at the moment. “No, but I prefer to focus on ourselves. I don’t feel that way about whether we are better or worse. That doesn’t matter to me either.”
Suspended Spurs technical director leaves
Technical director Fabio Paratici is leaving Tottenham Hotspur effective immediately. The former player had already temporarily resigned his position at the English club after being suspended for involvement in financial misconduct at Juventus.
The suspension has been upheld on appeal. He worked at Juventus between 2010 and 2021 before moving to Tottenham.
Juventus already received a 15-point deduction for financial misconduct. But Italy’s highest sports court suspended this punishment for the time being because the case needs to be reviewed. However, the club has not been acquitted and the directors remain suspended, including Paratici.
Among other things, Juventus is accused of not being honest about transfer values of players in the past. Juventus also allegedly secretly paid out players during the first months of the corona crisis. This while the club reported that all players had surrendered four months of salary.
Cocu back on the bench at Vitesse
Phillip Cocu returns to the Vitesse bench this weekend after a two-week absence. The former international resumed his duties on Thursday. Vitesse plays Saturday at home against Excelsior (9 p.m.).
The 52-year-old Cocu underwent surgery two weeks ago because of acute appendicitis. He was soon allowed home then, but was hospitalized again a day later due to complications. As a result, he also missed last weekend’s Gelderland derby, the match against NEC.
“I hope to be back on the pitch by myself soon, but for now I have to prioritize my health,” Cocu revealed. He was replaced by assistant coach Chris van der Weerden. With Van der Weerden on the bench, Vitesse won twice, from Go Ahead Eagles (2-0) and NEC (1-4).
Vitesse is number 13 in the premier league.
Ryan and Meerdink AZ heroes
AZ won over Anderlecht on Thursday after penalty kicks.
Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan became the hero of the Alkmaarders with two turned penalties, while 19-year-old Mexx Meedrink shot the decisive ball with a fine peal.
“To Mexx’,” thought coach Pascal Jansen. “That’s how he generally takes his penalties. A very steady, clean kick where you really have to goaltend very well if you want to hit the ball.”
The son of former AZ attacker Martijn Meerdink enjoyed his highlight. “We did it as a team. For me, it was a fantastic moment. You dream about that.”
Meerdink on decisive penalty kick AZ: ‘Was completely focused’