Ricardo Pepi
image: ANP / Imago

Dutch Recap: Pepi and Groningen Once Again Interrupted by Fans

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Ricardo Pepi once again saw the Groningen fans force the suspension of a game for the relegated team, while Gedion Zelalem returned to the Den Bosch starting lineup in their home draw.

FC Groningen pp. Ajax Amsterdam

Ricardo Pepi was in the Groningen starting lineup on Sunday afternoon as the already-relegated team welcomed Ajax in Eredivisie play, however the game was interrupted and eventually called off due to fan behavior.

The Groningen fans have made no efforts to hide their disgust with the team’s performances throughout this difficult season, and their official relegation following last weekend’s draw at Go Ahead Eagles was the last straw.

Sunday’s game was marred by pitch invasions by unruly fans and flares thrown onto the field, prompting referee Jeroen Manschot to suspend the game after less than ten minutes played.

It was announced on Monday that play will be resumed in a closed-doors affair on Tuesday afternoon, 3pm local time, with Pepi resuming his spot atop Groningen’s attack as they attempt to pull of the unlikely upset.

FC Den Bosch 2 – 2 Almere City FC

Gedion Zelalem returned to the lineup for FC Den Bosch, playing an hour in their midfield as they fought back to earn a home draw against Almere City in Eerste Divisie action.

During his hour of play, the American only misplaced two of his 34 passing attempts, while setting up one chance and winning three of his four attempted dribbles and four out of ten duels.

Ilias Boumassaoudi gave Den Bosch the 21st-minute lead, remarkably seeing his looping, 35-yard free kick from the left flank slip through the entire defense and bounce untouched into goal.

Three minutes past the half-hour Almere equalized when Álvaro Pena was left all alone in front of goal to easily tap in a low cross from Manel Royo, then Hamdi Akujobi put the visitors ahead six minutes after the break with a one-timed, 20-yard shot from a poor clearance.

Three minutes after Zelalem’s departure in favor of Steven van der Heijden, Den Bosch earned the point when Nick de Groot put away a blocked shot from the left edge of the six-yard box.

The result sees Den Bosch finish the round in 18th place. The result of Friday’s season finale against De Graafschap is meaningless, as no teams will be relegated from the division this season.

TOP Oss 1 – 0 Jong PSV

Dante Sealy earned another start for Jong PSV on Friday, putting in a decent, albeit futile performance in the attack during their narrow road loss at TOP Oss.

Sealy played 86 minutes on the left wing of their attacking front-three, taking a total of four shots, two of which were on target, setting up a pair of chances, successfully wining all five of his attempted dribbles, taking four corners, and winning five of six duels.

He also picked up a yellow card, his third of the season, during the first half.

In the opening seconds, a goalkeeping error by TOP Oss stopper Thijs Jansen on Jong PSV’s first attack nearly saw Sealy earn an early assist, but his short centering pass was bungled by Canadian youngster Simon Colyn, allowing the defense time to make a clearance.

The game was ultimately decided on somewhat of a lucky goal by the hosts in the 19th minute. Jong PSV defender Fedde Leysen tripped over his own feet while trying to track a long ball to Jearl Margaritha, letting the speedy winger slip free. He advanced unabated into the area and slipped a short pass to the left side, where Bradley van Hoeven sped in for the finish.

Sealy forced saves in the 28th and 38th minutes, however hit his shots somewhat weakly, giving Jansen little trouble to prevent any damage.

The loss leaves Jong PSV in 14th, and they will close out their season on Friday when FC Eindhoven pay a visit.


Djordje Mihailovic had a short outing for AZ on Sunday evening, only playing the final six minutes in their 5-1 thrashing of FC Emmen. AZ netted all five of their goals in the first half, and are battling to the end with Ajax in hopes of claiming the league’s lone Europa League qualification spot. They welcome West Ham in the second leg of their Europa Conference League semifinal on Thursday, then visit NEC Nijmegen three days later.

Philippe Sandler and NEC Nijmegen had a shocker on Friday, giving up a quartet of goals to FC Twente to leave their European ambitions hanging by a thread with a 4-0 road loss. Four points behind the Europa Conference League playoff group, they will need to win both of their last two games to have any chance, beginning with Sunday’s visit from third-place AZ Alkmaar.

Kik Pierie and Excelsior Rotterdam stayed barely out of the relegation places thanks to their scoreless road draw at Heerenveen. Pierie went the distance in the back line to help the team maintain their second shut-out in three games. They are one point ahead of the relegation playoff, but with a significantly worse goal differential than the other teams fighting for survival. This means they will likely need to take some points in their final two games against 12th-place Fortuna Sittard and 14th-place Volendam.

Taylor Booth was on a yellow-card suspension and did not suit up for FC Utrecht’s 2-0 home win over RKC Waalwijk. Utrecht are safely within the Europa Conference League playoff group, making their final two games against Ajax and Emmen more of an effort to avoid doing any damage to the squad.

Joshua Pynadath did not play a role in Jong AZ’s 2-1 road win over Jong Ajax on Friday.

Following his brief role as a starter last weekend, Anthony Fontana stayed glued to the PEC Zwolle bench on Friday for their 3-1 win over Roda JC Kerkrade. Fontana will hope for minutes when Zwolle closes their season on Friday at Helmond Sport.


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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