ADO Den Haag played their final game of the season on Sunday, playing host to Excelsior of Rotterdam. The atmosphere in and around the stadium prior to kick-off was relaxed and party like. The fact ADO were safe helped, thinking just a few weeks ago ADO were bottom of the league and looked doomed. New manager Fons Groenendijk turned it all around superbly. With nothing to play for, both teams could have played the game as a friendly, but ADO wanted to go out in style, and they did.

F0r the opening five minutes the visitors were on top, but ADO were fired up, they attacked at every opportunity and every player was flying wholeheartedly into challenges. The crowd got behind them and soon were a goal up. In the eighth minute, Dion Malone fed the ball out wide to the right for Sheraldo Becker to run onto. He lined up and fired his shot right in the far corner. His celebrations were wild, attempting a twisting somersault, but landing on his knees to rapturous cheers from the supporters, 1-0.

Excelsior got level in the twentieth minute. A free-kick taken by Ryan Koolwijk was diverted by Jeffrey Fortes, the touch completely wrong footing Robert Zwinkels in the ADO goal, 1-1.

It took ADO only five minutes to get back in front. Mike Havenaar producing a stunning close range flying header from a pin point cross from the right by Tyronne Ebuehi, 2-1.

In the thirty third minute ADO scored a real beauty of a goal. Nasser El Khayati was played into the penalty area. He was so calm as he twisted both left and right, leaving defenders on their backsides before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. A real cool and worked finish, 3-1.

The second half was basically all ADO. They dominated the midfield, so much so that Tommie Beugelsdijk was the last defender and he was able to wait on the half-way line. The crowd were loving it. The only thing going Excelsior’s way was the support ADO fans were giving to one of their former favourites, Mike van Duinen.

ADO sealed the game in the sixty fifth minute. A scramble inside the penalty saw the ball eventually falling to the feet of Wilfried Kanon, who had the simple chance to put the ball into the back of the net. His celebrations showed what the players think of Groenendijk. They all raced across to him and smothered him, a great moment, 4-1.

ADO came close to scoring on a few more occasions,  but the score did not change. The fans all around the Kyocera were partying. At the final whistle the stadium erupted into lots of noise and colour. A wonderful atmosphere as the players got their end of season awards before doing a lap of honour.

So ADO finally finished in eleventh place in the Eredivisie. A season full of highs and lows, both on and off the pitch. Now we wait to see what changes behind the scenes will be made and what will happen to the squad as players arrive and depart the club.

Text & photos by Neal McClimon of ADO for Expats