DAVID SMITH - Monday, December 1, 2014
Rubio Rubin finally netted his first goal for Utrecht in a high-scoring win while Aron Johannsson and AZ continued their strong run with a shut-out victory over Cambuur-Leeuwarden.
NAC Breda 1 - 5 FC Utrecht
Rubio Rubin opened his scoring account for Utrecht on Saturday, nailing the fourth of the team's five goals in a blowout win at NAC Breda.
Rubin started and played the full 90 minutes for the visitors in the center of the midfield, just behind the trio of strikers.
Utrecht were quick to assert their dominance, jumping ahead in the 11th minute when star striker Ruud Boymans was served up a fine cross for an easy tap-in from close range.
While Jeffrey Sarpong pulled NAC even in the 37th minute with a cannon of a shot from distance that sailed in at the upper right corner, Edouard Duplan gave the visitors the halftime lead, as Boymans headed a long cross directly into his path in the middle of the penalty area for an easy finish.
Utrecht were firmly in control after Boymans instinctively put away a loose ball from five yards out in the 54th minute following a flurry of action around the six-yard box.
American international Rubin then struck for their fourth with seven minutes left on the clock, firing in from a tight angle from the right side of goal with a lunging blast following an uncleared free kick.
Boymans nearly earned a hat trick in the final seconds, finding himself on a breakaway with only the keeper to beat. He did poorly with his shot, however, with his opponent coming off his line to make a nice block. Luckily for the visitors, Nacer Barazite stormed in to put away the free ball, giving them the final 5-1 victory.
With the victory, Utrecht climb to tenth place. They will try to make it two wins in a row on Sunday when they host struggling 16th-place team Heracles.
Cambuur-Leeuwarden 0 - 2 AZ Alkmaar
Aron Johannsson started and put in a 66-minute shift for AZ Alkmaar on Saturday, with a 2-0 away win for the team helping to tighten the race at the top of the standings.
A 39th-minute handball infraction by Cambuur defender Calvin Mac-Intosch gave AZ the perfect chance for the lead, and Nemanja Gudelj successfully converted from the spot to give his team the halftime advantage.
Gudelj then struck again for his second goal ten minutes after the break to finish the job. Following a corner from the left that flew across the area to the far post, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw made contact in midair to deflect it back towards center.
The ball momentarily hung in midair, just long enough for Gudelj to instinctively turn and smack it in from five yards for the 2-0 advantage.
Despite not adding any further scores to their lead, AZ was firmly in control through the end, cruising to the victory.
The victory puts AZ amidst the trio of teams on 24 points, with the team trailing Twente and Feyenoord only on goal differential. This also tightens the gap behind leaders PSV and second-place Ajax to a respective six and seven points in the race for the league title and Champions League qualification spots.
AZ are back in action on Saturday, hosting 13th-place Deventer.
Charles Kazlauskas played the full 90 minutes on Friday as Helmond defeated visiting Jong PSV by a 2-1 scoreline.
Dion Watson was not in uniform for Fortuna Sittard on Friday for their 1-0 road win over MVV Maastricht.