Cole Bassett finally made his mark as a late substitute to help Feyenoord keep their grip on European qualification while Luca de la Torre put in his typically strong performance for Heracles in an important road win.
FC Groningen 0 – 1 Heracles Almelo
Luca de la Torre went the distance in the Heracles midfield on Sunday as they stayed out of the relegation race with a road win over Groningen.
The American was his usual metronome of consistency in the Heracles central midfield, hitting just over 80% of his 36 attempted passes, winning half of his eight duels and setting up one close call 20 minutes into the second half.
Heracles got the job done midway through the first half, with Lucas Schoofs receiving the ball at the top of the area with his back towards goal, then making the turn to pick out Nikolai Laursen for a ten-yard blast for the 1-0 lead.
In the 66th minute, de la Torre showed his creativity, flicking a cheeky pass over his shoulder at the upper left corner of the Groningen area to send Laursen in towards goal, however his angle was shut down by opposing keeper Peter Leeuwenburgh.
Despite a significant late push and overall control of the game by the hosts, Heracles held on for the victory.
While not mathematically free from relegation risk, the victory leaves Heracles seven points and several places out of danger with four games left to play. They will be back on the field on Saturday when they host Twente.
Feyenoord Rotterdam 2 – 1 FC Utrecht
Cole Bassett made the most of his few minutes on the field on Sunday, playing a key role to set up Feyenoord’s 96th-minute winner over Utrecht to keep their grip firmly on Europa League qualification.
Feyenoord were ahead three minutes into the second half when Mike van der Hoorn headed the ball into his own net while trying to clear a cross, however Sander van der Streek pulled the game back onto even terms four minutes past the hour after redirecting a shot from Othman Boussaid into the Feyenoord net.
Bassett entered the game in place of central midfielder Bryan Linssen, and helped his team to break the deadlock deep into injury time.
After a short give-and-go with Luis Sinisterra on the left to leave the Colombian international alone on his defender, he rounded his teammate as though to receive lay-off, and momentarily drew the attention of the three marking defenders, creating an opening for a splitting run into the area.
Sinisterra didn’t pass up the chance, broke free at 11 yards out, and fired his uncontested shot to the lower left corner for the dramatic late winner.
Feyenoord will host Olympique Marseille in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal, however with Bassett not registered for European play, his next chance to take the field will be on Sunday when they visit Fortuna Sittard.
Richard Ledezma was a garbage-time substitute for PSV Eindhoven on Saturday, coming in during the 91st minute of their 2-1 road win over Cambuur Leeuwarden. PSV trail Eredivisie leaders Ajax by four points with four games left in the season.