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The Toe Poke

Eredivisie: NEC thrash Volendam, Ajax held

NEC coach Mario Been got the win he demanded of his side as they thrashed the Eredivisie's bottom club FC Volendam at the McDos Goffert stadium this afternoon.

Lasse Schone and Jhonny van Beukering both scored twice for the hosts in a comfortable win over Frans Adelaar's side, who have now lost all seven away games in the top flight this season and conceded 26.

Been was keen for his side to bounce back from their UEFA Cup defeat to Tottenham on Thursday and it took them nine minutes to break through as Danish midfielder Schone curled in a free-kick from 25 yards which took a slight deflection on its way in.

The second followed five minutes later as Ramon Zomer volleyed home from a Schone corner from the left and Van Beukering's first arrived in the 16th minute.

He exchanged passes with Saidi Ntibazonkiza before curling in a delightful shot, and returned the compliment for the Burundi midfielder to score the fourth with a shot squeezed through Jeroen Verhoeven's legs six minutes before half-time. The fifth followed three minutes later as Van Beukering chipped in from Dani Fernandez's pass.

The second half was a damage limitation exercise for Volendam and they limited NEC to just one more as Schone added his second in the 63rd minute from Rachid Bouaouzan's through-ball.

Volendam earned a crumb of comfort with 13 minutes left as Gerson Sheotahul sent an unstoppable shot past NEC goalkeeper Gabor Babos. It was their first away league goal of the season.

The win moved NEC up to seventh, while Volendam remain two points adrift of De Graafschap at the bottom.

Ajax moved up to second in the Eredivisie after rescuing a point against FC Utrecht at the Amsterdam Arena.

The mid-table visitors took the lead in an open first half through Sander Keller, setting up a second period in which Ajax dominated possession but only managed to level the scores through Miralem Sulejmani just after the hour mark.

After losing the lead in the league last week following a 2-0 defeat by new table-toppers AZ Alkmaar, van Basten's side were relishing the prospect of getting back to winning ways when they welcomed Utrecht to their own back yard.

They fired a signal of their intent after only seven minutes when Jan Vertonghen headed a free-kick over the bar.

But it soon became clear Utrecht were up for a fight when Ali Boussaboun missed a similar effort for the visitors three minutes later.

They were up to the challenge in defence, too, as Sulejmani and Kennedy Bakircioglu both saw shots turned away by diving defenders as the game progressed.

Then 10 minutes before the break, Ajax were stunned as Utrecht took the lead. Keller rose the highest to meet a Leroy George corner with a downward header.

From that point on the game was all Ajax as the visitors sat on their lead.

Luis Suarez nearly levelled before the break, but his shot from five yards was expertly turned away by Utrecht keeper Michel Vorm.

Utrecht's defence finally caved after 61 minutes, sending Sulejmani running into the box and he finished with a cool side-footed finish across Vorm and into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.

That was as much as Utrecht were prepared to give, however, as the hosts were confined to only one more chance to take the lead 14 minutes from time, but again Suarez had his shot from close range turned away.

Elsewhere, Sparta Rotterdam beat NAC Breda 4-0 thanks to two goals from Rydell Poepon and one apiece from Arne Slot and Kevin Strootman.

Vitesse Arnhem and Feyenoord drew 1-1, Paul Verhaegh pulling the home side level after Roy Makaay had given the visitors an early lead.


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