RECAP: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Both Aron Johannsson and Chalres Kazlauskas got on the score sheet on Saturday, though only one managed to help their team to a win.
AZ 1 - 5 Heerenveen
Despite dominating possession, Aron Johannsson and AZ were thrashed at home by Heerenveen on Saturday. Johannsson was active up top throughout the full 90 minutes and dangerous in spurts, but the service was lacking for the striker, as his support rarely manged to find him in dangerous positions.
In the 12th minute Bilal Basacikoglu beat AZ defender Mattias Johannsson to get in all alone on AZ goalie Esteban Alvarado, who was unable to save the ensuing shot, making it 1-0 Heerenveen. Just nine minutes later, Heerenveen made it 2-0 as Hakim Ziyech pounced on a corner in the box and volleyed it in for a goal.
AZ were able to fire back before halftime however. The American striker Johannsson had stayed active at the top of manager Dick Advocaat's 4-3-3 formation, and it paid dividends in the 40th minute. Marten Maartens lofted a sublime pass over the Heerenveen backline which Johannsson chested down nicely before cutting a shot back towards the far post, making it 2-1.
Luciano Slagveer extended Heerenveen's lead back to two in the 45th minute after a terrible Marten Maartens back pass prevented Alvarado from being able get in a decent clearance. Eventually Slagveer was able to poke home the loose ball from point blank range.
Heerenveen were able to put AZ to bed in the second half with a pair of lightning quick counter attacks. First, Eredivisie leading scorer Alfred Finnbogason scored his 17th goal in 15 games in the 69th minute with the help of Ziyech assist. Four minutes later, Ziyech got on the end of a Basacikoglu through ball and slotted past Alvarado to make it 5-1.
AZ head into the Winter break with a sour taste in their mouths, and must wait until they play NAC Breda on January 18th to try to wash it out.
De Graafschap 1 - 2 Helmond Sport
Charles Kazlauskas went the distance for Helmond Sport, scoring his second goal of the season in the process as Helmond were able to grab an impressive road win against De Graafschap on Saturday.
Helmond didn't start the game ideally, as Rogier Meijers got his head on the end of Edwin Linssen's corner to make it 1-0 De Graafschap in just the eighth minute.
Little action followed the goal, but Kazlauskas was able to supply the spark for Helmond in the 34th minute. Juanito Sequeira sent a free kick towards the penalty area, where Kazlauskas was able to rise and head it in from close range in the 34th minute.
Sequeira was able to follow up his first assist with another in the 38th minute. This time from open play, Sequeira lofted in a cross for Serhat Koc who was able to head it home for his ninth goal of the season and a 2-1 Helmond lead.
Helmond's defense was under siege for much of the second half, but Kazlauskas and his fellow backliners successfully repelled all De Graafschap attacks without allowing any serious clear cut chances.
With the win, Helmond are now joined in a four team tie on points for sixth place in the Eerste Divisie. They are off until January 17th when they host VVV Venlo.