posted on Dec, 19 2004 @ 11:12 AM
A second-half onslaught saw Ajax cruise to an impressive 4-0 victory at FC Groningen which maintains their title challenge.
Ronald Koeman's men go into the winter break in third place in the Eredivisie, five points adrift of joint leaders AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven. After
a goalless first half, the Amsterdammers moved through the gears and netted their 11th win of the season thanks to two goals from Ryan Babel and one
apiece from Wesley Sneijder and Nicolae Mitea.
Feyenoord failed to end the year on a high note after a 2-0n defeat at struggling ADO Den Haag saw them lose ground on the top-three. Geert Den Ouden
gave the hosts the perfect start with the opener after just two minutes, and the win was sealed with Sjaak Polak's strike midway through the second
half. It was a welcome victory for Den Haag to edge them further clear of the relegation zone.
FC Utrecht finished 2004 on a winning note as they saw off Den Bosch thanks to a solitary goal from Hans van der Haar. Van der Haar struck nine
minutes into the second half to lift Utrecht up to sixth place heading into the winter break, level on 28 points with fifth-placed Heerenveen.
NEC Nijmegen coach Johan Neeskens will be a relieved man after his side ended a run of nine league games without a win with a 3-2 victory over
Heerenveen. A second-half double from Romano Denneboom sealed the points for NEC, whose last triumph was a 3-0 win at home to RBC Roosendaal on
October 1. The hosts took an early lead through a Robbie Wielaert penalty and Neeskens will be particularly pleased that his team went on to win,
despite Daniel Hestad making the scores level at the break. Mika Vayrynen's 90th-minute goal was no more than a consolation for Heerenveen, who failed
to build on clinching a UEFA Cup knock-out place in midweek.
AZ Alkmaar will end 2004 on top of the Eredivisie after they beat RBC Roosendaal 2-0 in their last league match of the calendar year.
Goals in either half from Robin Nelisse and Denny Landzaat ensured that they dislodged early-season pacesetters PSV Eindhoven who were surprisingly
beaten at home by the same scoreline to Roda JC Kerkrade. For AZ it is a magnificent achievement to be ahead of the "big three" (PSV, Ajax and
Feyenoord) at the turn of the year although they are only ahead of PSV on goals scored. Roda JC provided the shock result of the Eredivisie season by
shattering 10-man PSV Eindhoven's unbeaten record. Laszlo Bodnar and Sergio Pacheco did the damage for Roda with a goal in each half to knock
shell-shocked Eindhoven off the top. The sending-off of PSV's Alex Rodrigo turned the match.
Finally RKC Waalwijk striker Rick Hoogendorp showed that last week's goal which ended his two-month drought was no fluke by grabbing a 77th-minute
winner in the 1-0 win against Willem II.