Eredivisie review

Ajax end seven-year wait for Dutch title

May 15, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Ajax lifted the Eredivisie trophy for the first time since 2004 after a 3-1 victory in their title decider against FC Twente at the Amsterdam ArenA.

Ajax team celeb Eredivise title
PA PhotosAjax players celebrate after winning the club's 30th Eredivisie title

Siem de Jong drilled them in front and Denny Landzaat's own goal put the hosts two goals up early in the second half.

Theo Janssen quickly pulled a goal back but De Jong scored his second and Ajax's third to ensure there was no repeat of the late drama which saw Twente snatch victory in last week's KNVB Beker final between the same two sides.

PSV Eindhoven missed out on Champions League qualification as they drew 0-0 with fifth-placed Groningen, failing to get the win that would have seen them leapfrog FC Twente into second place in the Eredivisie table.

Fred Rutten's team will have to settle for Europa League football next season while Groningen will have to earn their place via the play-offs after finishing fifth.

A hat-trick from Belgian striker Dries Mertens helped FC Utrecht seal a top-half finish in the Eredivisie table with a 5-1 demolition of AZ Alkmaar on the final day of the season.

The visitors were soundly beaten but still finished fourth and have qualified for next season's Europa League ahead of FC Groningen who were held to a goalless draw by PSV Eindhoven. Mertens scored twice inside the opening 15 minutes before his compatriot Maarten Martens pulled one back for AZ but Mertens third and a brace from Ricky van Wolfswinkel wrapped up the points in the final 10 minutes.

Feyenoord saw their slim hopes of claiming a UEFA Europa League play-off berth evaporate as they rounded off a disappointing Eredivisie season with a 1-1 home draw against NEC Nijmegen.

Mario Been's men needed a win to stand any chance of edging into the top eight, and while results elsewhere would render that quest irrelevant Feyenoord also failed to keep their side of the bargain.

Lasse Schone put the visitors in front in the 12th minute but Luc Castaignos equalised for Feyenoord two minutes before half-time. The point secured Feyenoord a 10th-place finish, just ahead of their opponents.

Excelsior fell just short of securing their Eredivisie status, despite a storming finish to their match against relegation rivals Vitesse Arnhem, which saw them secure a 4-1 triumph.

Alex Pastoor's side needed a four-goal victory to subject today's opponents to the relegation play-offs - and three goals in the final 13 minutes at the GelreDome almost saw them achieve it.

However, a 4-1 victory means Vitesse's presence in the top flight is assured for another season, while the Rotterdam side's fate will be decided by the play-offs.

De Graafschap ensured their Eredivisie status this afternoon with a hard-fought 1-0 home victory over VVV-Venlo.

The Doetinchem club headed into the final game of the season three points above third-bottom Excelsior in the final relegation play-off place and needed a draw to guarantee survival. But they went one better as Rydell Poepon's sixth-minute strike proved enough to secure all three points against a second-bottom VVV side long since consigned to a play-off berth.

Relegated Willem II bowed out of the Eredivisie on a low note as Julian Jenner's late goal handed NAC Breda a 1-0 win at Koning Willem II Stadion.

The hosts had endured a miserable season that has yielded just three victories, and they were made to pay today for failing to take their chances as Breda's win handed the visitors a 13th-place finish.

Roda JC sealed their highest Eredivisie finish in 10 seasons with a goalless draw against Heerenveen.

Roda had already sealed their place in the Europa League play-off places and, with Heerenveen safe of danger and nothing else to play for, it proved a drab end-of-season affair. The match only briefly entertained late on with Laurent Delorge and Bas Dost both hitting the woodwork at either end inside the final 10 minutes.

Heracles Almelo secured a place in the Europa League play-offs today with a convincing 3-0 win against ADO Den Haag.

Heracles started the day in ninth, two points ahead of FC Utrecht and needing at least a draw to finish there and give themselves the chance of competing for a place in Europe's second-tier competition.

They did better than that, although the game was up for grabs until the remaining 20 minutes when Willy Overtoom scored twice and Samuel Armenteros netted a late third.