standout Azzaoui shoots Heracles back to premier league
Mission accomplished. A week after PEC Zwolle, Heracles Almelo has also secured premier league soccer after the summer. Heracles won 3-0 at home against Jong PSV, securing the second promotion spot in the first division.
Ismail Azzaoui, who had only scored one goal until today, was the big man in the promotion match with two goals. In the closing stages, defender Marco Rente – who missed out on a transfer to Coventry City, having made minutes against precisely Jong PSV – made sure of the final score.
Standings at the head of the first division
|1. PEC Zwolle *||35-79 (92-37)|
|2. Heracles Almelo *||35-76 (95-41)|
|3. Almere City||35-66 (55-37)|
|4. William II||34-60 (60-36)|
|5. MVV Maastricht||34-56 (63-62)|
Even the championship in the first division is still possible for the Almeloërs. With three rounds of play to go, the gap on leaders PEC Zwolle – which itself treated the home crowd to a 4-0 win over FC Dordrecht – is only three points.
Excitement in Almelo
The packed stadium in Almelo was shimmering with excitement beforehand, and the players did not disappoint. Within four minutes, right-winger Azzaoui was already pulling in and shooting the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Schiks on the inside of the post.
Fifteen minutes later, Azzaoui did score. Right back Marco Rente delivered a measured cross to Samuel Armenteros, who cleared the ball with the outside of his foot for Azzaoui, who poked the ball into the goal in a particularly beautiful fashion.
Shortly after that goal, Heracles’ right flank asserted itself again. First it was Rente who came up for goal, but saw his effort stopped by Schiks. The subsequent corner was headed over the goal by the German back.
Azzaoui then thought to make his second of the evening with a nice lob, but this time he aimed just too high.
Second from Azzaoui
After more than half an hour, Azzaoui’s second came after all. Young PSV defender Fedde Leysen – who, like Jenson Seelt, had trained with the selection of Ruud van Nistelrooij in the afternoon, who is preparing for the cup final against Ajax – accidentally laid the ball ready for Azzaoui.
Who eagerly unwrapped the gift, although it was in two instances.
Heracles then let go of the reins a bit and immediately there were chances for the visitors. Striker Jason van Duiven – nephew of Heracles assistant Hendrie Krüzen – was dangerous on a couple of occasions, but defender Justin Hoogma put a stop to it.
On the stroke of halftime, Azzaoui even had the chance for a hat-trick when he went off alone, but this time he hesitated too long.
So nice the first, so mediocre the second half until Azzaoui asserted himself again. The standout dribbled inside, creating an almost unmissable chance for himself, but on finishing it went wrong.
The poorly struck ball bumped wide and Azzaoui had to pay for that action with an injury and so his hat-trick did not materialize. At the other end, the Almelo PSV striker Van Duiven had an excellent chance to make it a bit exciting, but now Heracles goalkeeper Brouwer distinguished himself with a fine save.
Defender Rente took his revenge shortly before time and made it 3-0.
Well hat trick at PEC
Leaders PEC Zwolle already celebrated the promotion party last week and proved to be in the right mood tonight as well. Thanks to a goal by top scorer Lennart Thy and a hat trick by Younes Taha, the score against FC Dordrecht was already 4-0 at halftime.
The game in Zwolle was halted in the first half after an eight-year-old child threw a cup onto the pitch. Also in Maastricht the game was temporarily interrupted because of objects on the field, although with a 2-1 deficit against Jong AZ this probably had a less innocent background.
Almere City can start preparing for the nacompetition due to Heracles’ win. Alex Pastoor’s team won easily 0-5 against TOP Oss. Lance Duijvestijn missed a penalty kick after ten minutes, but that was quickly forgotten when Anthony Limbombe found the net twice before half-time.
Results and program first division
|Heracles Almelo – Young PSV||3-0|
|PEC Zwolle – FC Dordrecht||4-0 *|
|TOP Oss – Almere City||0-5|
|MVV Maastricht – Jong AZ||1-2 *|
|VVV-Venlo – Young Ajax||0-1|
|FC Eindhoven – Jong FC Utrecht||2-0|
|FC Den Bosch – Telstar||0-1|
|ADO Den Haag – Helmond Sport||2-2|
|NAC Breda – Roda JC||Sat.|
|Willem II – De Graafschap||Sat.|
|* temporarily discontinued|