DAVID SMITH - Sunday, December 11, 2011
Jozy Altidore and AZ returned to their winning ways in grand fashion in a blowout win over De Graafschap while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport lost their fourth straight.
AZ Alkmaar 4 - 0 De Graafschap Doetinchem
Jozy Altidore put in yet another 90-minute shift for AZ on Saturday as they took out their frustrations on lowly De Graafschap.
Alkmaar had begun to show their cracks in the last two weeks, going three straight without a win, including last weekend's 5-1 blowout loss at the hands of Heerenveen.
Against the relegation-favorites De Graafschap, they were in control from the outset, and put to rest any fears that their recent downturn was anything more than a blip.
The hosts were in the lead midway through the first half, with Brett Holman and Simon Poulsen linking up on the left side, before the former found Adam Maher unmarked just outside the penalty area for a powerful blast to the center of goal for 1-0.
Nine minutes later, Poulsen gave his team the 2-0 lead, receiving a short pass from Holman in the right side of the area and placing his acute-angled shot perfectly between the keeper and the near post.
Altidore helped force AZ's third goal in the 54th minute, aiming a header from the left side towards the far post, which defender Vito Wormgoor mistakenly headed into his own net.
Substitute Charlison Benschop added a fourth for the Eredivisie leaders 11 minutes from full time, chasing down a ball just inside the upper right corner of the area and lobbing his shot over the keeper and into goal, despite the valiant effort of Wormgoor to make a goal-line clearance.
AZ maintain their four-point lead atop the Eredivisie standings ahead of PSV Eindhoven, and will look to secure their spot in the knockout round of the Europa League when they host Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday.
FC Volendam 3 - 1 Helmond Sport
Charles Kazlauskas returned from his yellow card suspension to take up his usual spot in the Helmond defense, however the team was powerless to stop their hosts FC Volendam in their defeat on Friday.
Volendam needed just 12 minutes to take the lead, as the division's leading scorer Jack Tuyp received the ball at the right side of the penalty area, and having drawn the focus of the defense, he dropped a short pass to the center for Achmed Ahahaoui to put away for 1-0.
Seven minutes later, Tuyp increased his season's impressive goal total, sneaking in between a pair of defenders on the left side to receive a pass from Roy Bakkenes, and lobbing his shot over keeper Björn Sengier for the two-goal lead.
Helmond were given some brief moments of hope in the 36th minute when Jop Van Der Linden hit a 23-yard free kick perfectly to the lower right corner to pull them to within one, however the loss was sealed just after the break as Tuyp slotted his second goal of the game and 17th of the season from the upper right corner of the six-yard box for the final 3-1 score.
Nine minutes before the end, insult was added to injury for the visitors when defender Guus Joppen was shown a straight red for a nasty tackle from behind on Volendam midfielder Dominique van Dijk. Helmond head coach Hans de Konig was also given his marching orders in the following seconds for taking his remonstrations with the referee a touch too far, meaning both will be forced to watch the team's next game from the stands.
The result leaves Helmond in 12th place in the Jupiler League, and they will play their final game of 2011 at home against AGOVV Apeldoorn on Friday before heading off on winter break.