Ricardo Pepi continued his strong scoring form for Groningen in their big win over PSV, while Taylor Booth finally flashed the promise that Utrecht had expected from their summer signing.
FC Groningen 4 – 2 PSV Eindhoven
Ricard Pepi got Groningen off on the right foot on Sunday, as a barrage of goals destroyed title hopefuls PSV Eindhoven.
In addition to the goal, his sixth of the season, the American had a generally strong outing at center forward over 90 minutes, with 31 total touches, a 90% completion rate of his 20 passing attempts, a pair of shots, and two chances created.
On the opposing side, Richard Ledezma was in uniform for PSV, however was not called into action, instead featuring in their second team’s Monday evening game in the Eerste Divisie.
Pepi got the scoring underway in the 39th minute, with an opportunistic follow-up after Cyril Ngonge stole the ball off of Armando Obispo’s foot on the run; while his initial shot was deflected by the keeper, the American stormed in to finish from 17 yards out.
Radinio Balker made it two for the hosts in the 43rd minute, heading in a corner from Laros Duarte, then Ngonge gave the hosts the three-goal lead in the first minute of added time, doing all the hard work to beat the PSV defense and put away his 18-yard shot to the lower right corner.
Ibrahim Sangaré cut the lead in the final moments before the halftime whistle when he headed in a fine cross from Cody Gakpo, then Gakpo gave the visitors hope in the 76th minute, serving up a short cross for Guus Till’s header to bring the score to 3-2.
However, Joey Pelupessy would seal it for the hosts in the 92nd minute, his sweeping shot from five yards finishing the big win.
The result sees Groningen climb to 14th place, with a winnable visit to Emmen Sunday, while second-place PSV will host Arsenal on Thursday in Europa League action before welcoming NEC Nijmegen three days later.
FC Utrecht 3 – 1 Sparta Rotterdam
Taylor Booth surprised the world, returning to Utrecht’s lineup to put on his finest performance to date as a professional player in the team’s big win over Sparta Rotterdam.
In his 67 minutes on the left side of the team’s midfield before leaving with a reported injury, Booth notched a pair of assists and was a highly active participant in his team’s forward push.
He had a total of 36 ball contacts, completed 20 of 23 passes, set up a pair of chances – both of which were converted – nailed three of five crosses, two of three long balls, and won three of five duels.
Booth’s fine run and lofted cross from the left edge of the 18-yard box in the sixth minute set up Daishawn Redan’s header at the far post for the Utrecht lead. He then set up their second score, three minutes into the second half, with an inswinging corner that Anastasios Douvikas headed home.
While the American left the game after 67 minutes with a reported injury, Sean Klaiber increased the lead for the hosts in the 79th minute with a powerful strike from 25 yards out.
Joshua Kitolano did finally pull one back for the visitors in the 84th minute with a towering header, however the result stood, with Utrecht taking all three points.
The result brings Utrecht to eighth in the Eredivisie standings, with a visit to Heerenveen on Saturday.
Jong Ajax 1 – 1 VVV-Venlo
Kik Pierie put in his usual dominant performance in the Jong Ajax central defense, however the team was once again done in by their inability to convert on the offensive end as they settled for a draw at home against VVV-Venlo
Pierie had 138 touches over the full game, completed 87% of his 117 pass attempts, attempted a pair of shots, created one chance, hit nine of 15 long balls, won three of four tackles and seven of 11 duels. However, despite holding two-thirds of possession, Jong Ajax were simply unable to finish.
All of the action happened in the first half, with Sven Braken lunging forward to head Carl Johansson’s deep cross from the right flank into goal for the Venlo lead, and Christian Rasmussen equalizing for Jong Ajax two minutes later with a lightening strike when the ball fell at his foot in the right side of the area.
Jong Ajax finish the round in 11th place, with a visit from Willem II on Monday evening.
Cole Bassett was a garbage-time substitute for Fortuna Sittard on Saturday, as they went on the road to claim a point at Feyenoord Rotterdam.
Joshua Pynadath played the entire second half for Jong AZ Alkmaar on Monday night in Eerste Divisie action, taking a shot and setting up a chance for the team in their scoreless draw at home against Telstar.
Richard Ledezma played the full 90 minutes for Jong PSV on Monday, notching an assist on their third goal as they powered past Helmond Sport in a 6-0 victory. Dante Sealy also played the final quarter-hour for the hosts, managing one shot and one set-up during his limited time on the field.