Ricardo Pepi

Ricardo Pepi finally netted his first goal since landing on European soil in Groningen’s road loss, while Kik Pierie and Jong Ajax were blown out in Maastricht to end their short undefeated run.

Sparta Rotterdam 2 – 1 FC Groningen

Following his return to the national team fold, Ricardo Pepi celebrated by finally opening his European scoring account, however the second-half goal wasn’t enough to stop Groningen from falling to a loss at Sparta Rotterdam on Saturday.

The American lined up as center forward in Frank Wormuth’s 3-4-3 tactical deployment. While only managing a total of 24 touches in his 65 minutes, he did make the most of his limited time on the ball, with a pair of shots and the team’s lone goal of the evening.

Adil Auassar looked to have given Sparta the lead just before the 17-minute mark after cleaning up a free kick that was allowed to clatter around in the six-yard area. However, a VAR review revealed an attacking player to be offside during the initial kick, keeping the game scoreless.

Pepi then gave the visitors the lead one minute past the hour, lurking in front of goal and rising high to head in Isak Dybvik’s cross from the left side.

The former FC Dallas player was then pulled off the field three minutes later as Groningen tried to lock down the win, and was forced to watch from the bench as they ultimately wasted their advantage.

Sven Mijnans headed Vito van Crooij’s corner from the left side just inside the near post to equalize in the 73rd minute, then van Crooij secured the home win from the spot after Tobias Lauritsen was tripped up by Michael Pinto at the edge of the area.

The loss leaves Groningen in 12 place, and they will return to action on Oct. 1 with a home game against AZ Alkmaar.

MVV Maastricht 4 – 1 Jong Ajax

Kik Pierie and Jong Ajax took a step back on Saturday finding themselves on the wrong end of a lopsided scoreline at MVV Maastricht in Eerste Divisie action.

As usual, Pierie was in the thick of the action in the heart of the Jong Ajax defense, with a whopping 126 total touches, 90 of 112 completed passes, nine accurate long balls in 17 attempts, six out of eight tackles won, and only one foul on opposing players.

Maastricht took the lead just before the ten-minute mark, with Mart Remans controlling a short cross from Sven Blummel at the penalty spot, before making his turn and firing home for the 1-0 lead.

Then Blummel made it 2-0 just before the half-hour with a fine strike from the top edge of the area.

Gabriel Misehouy pulled one back for Ajax in the 53rd, striking his low roller from the center of the area off the right upright and over the line.

However, a flukey, 18-yard strike in the 68th minute by Koen Kostons and an emphatic 84th-minute finish by Ruben van Bommel on a quick counter sealed the 4-1 win for the hosts.

Pierie and his teammates will return to action after the international break, with a trip to Zwolle on Sept. 30.

Notes

Richard Ledezma watched the Cody Gakpo show from the PSV Eindhoven bench on Sunday. The in-demand winger had a near-perfect performance for the hosts with one goal and three assists as they defeated Feyenoord by a 4-3 score.

Cole Bassett was an unused substitute for Fortuna Sittard on Saturday, with the team pulling off a 1-0 home victory with a late goal against visiting Excelsior Rotterdam, their first win of the season, despite closing the game out with only ten men on the field.

Taylor Booth was left on the Utrecht bench on Friday in their stale scoreless draw at home against NEC Nijmegen.

Dante Sealy was a 68th-minute offensive for Jong PSV as they searched for an equalizer at VVV-Venlo in Eerste Divisie action on Friday night. The PSV development squad did finally find an 85th-minute equalizer, although Sealy wasn’t directly involved.

Joshua Pynadath played the final six minutes of regulation for Jong AZ Alkmaar on Friday night in their 1-0 road loss at Willem II Tilburg.

By David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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