After three points gained at home to Vitesse Arnhem last Thursday night, ADO Den Haag took the long trip to FC Groningen. The big question being could ADO turn their first half performances into commanding leads and not frustrate their fans again? The answer was no. For the first time this season they were involved in a goalless game.
ADO didn’t have the best of starts as both head coach Fons Groenendijk and high performing Striker Erik Falkenburg were not available due to illness. This meant that Dirk Heesen took charge and Thijmen Goppel made his debut.
As per usual, it was ADO who started with pace and in the second minute had their first chance. Goppel feeding Bjørn Johnsen, the striker seeing his shot blocked. The game then slowed down. A bit of a mess in midfield from both sides. Groningen forced a series of corners, but their efforts saw no clear cut chances.
In the thirty eighth minute, Tom van Weert had the home sides best chance of the half, Robert Zwinkels coming to ADO’s rescue. Nasser El Khayati and Sheraldo Becker had half chances to break the,but again the opportunities were lost. In the final minute of the half, Danny Bakker had a golden chance to put ADO in front at the break, his header going over the bar.
The second half was a dull affair, neither side showing any kind of attacking spirit. Aaron Meijers was getting some joy down the left wing, but he was double marked at times, preventing the killer crosses from going into the danger area.
The game exploded into life just as the home fans began to boo their own team. A needless push by Shaquille Pinas gave Groningen a free kick. Juninho Bacuna hit the free kick with pace, a deflection then lead to three corners in quick succession. This lifted the crowd and the players. Only a fantastic reflex save by Zwinkels kept the score at 0-0.
ADO weathered the storm and began to create chances. Johnsen, El Khayati and Becker all finding a glimmer of goal, but the keeper and defenders of Groningen stood solid. In the eighty fifth minute Pinas controlled a high ball before firing an acrobatic shot just over the bar.
As the seconds ticked down to the final whistle, both ADO and Groningen had chances to earn the three points. Johnsen saw another effort rebound to safety and then van Weert almost connected with a pass, the slightest of touches would have broken ADO hearts.
The final whistle meant that ADO would stay in eighth place in the Eredivisie and are now three games unbeaten. A point each was a fair result. The game was no spectacle, but any points gained away from home are good points.
Text & photos by Neal McClimon of www.adoforexpats.com