DAVID SMITH - Thursday, April 12, 2012
Jozy Altidore added another pair of goals to his growing season total AZ's draw with Twente while Charles Kazlauskas returned to Helmond's starting lineup as they stayed perfect in 2012.
AZ Alkmaar 2 - 2 FC Twente
Jozy Altidore Altidore was the star for AZ on Wednesday evening, putting in a pair of goals over 80 minutes of play as a last-second goal from Twente took them further off the Eredivisie lead.
Coming into the game one point behind leaders Ajax, pressure was on Altidore and his teammates to beat title hopefuls Twente in an attempt to keep their own challenge for season honors alive.
They got off to a bright start, with Altidore heading in a third-minute corner from Maarten Martens to the lightening-fast lead.
Twente were unfazed, pulling even just past the half-hour, as Luuk de Jong hit an awkward off-balance shot from the right edge of the six-yard box to the far side of goal.
Altidore's second goal 20 minutes from full time restored AZ's lead, as he played a quick give-and-go with Adam Maher, rocketing a low shot from the center of the box to just inside the left edge of goal.
Twente resiliently kept up the fight, and stole a point in the final seconds, with Nacer Chadli delivering a cross from near the endline which Emir Bajrami rose up to head home powerfully for the final 2-2 score.
With Ajax coming up big winners over Heerenveen later in the evening, Twente now find themselves three points off the pace, and with a significantly lesser goal differential than the Amsterdam giants.
They face their second straight title-chasing team on their next outing on Saturday when they visit PSV Eindhoven.
AGOVV Apeldoorn 0 - 3 Helmond Sport
Charles Kazlauskas lined up on the right side of Helmond's three-man front line on Monday afternoon, and was a constant thorn in AGOVV Apeldoorn's side as the team cruised to an eighth straight win on Monday.
Kazlauskas was the star of the first half, hitting a perfect cross from the right flank in the ninth minute which Emrullah Guvenc lunged forward to head into goal for the lead.
The American consistently made a pest of himself near his opponent's goal in the early going, coming close in the subsequent minutes with a shot then a header that flew just barely off-target.
Then in the 42nd minute, Helmond assured a two-goal halftime lead, with Juanito Sequeira striking a low cross to the right side of the box, which Erik Quekel put away at the near post with a nifty flick.
They added a third to wrap up the win with seven minutes on the clock, this time with Guvenc maintaining possession on a spectacular run into the box, then setting up Sequeira for a short point-blank blast.
The victory gives Helmond mathematical certainty of winning the fourth period standings, and a guaranteed spot in the promotion playoffs. Furthermore, their current fourth-place standing and huge lead ahead of fifth and sixth place means that taking even a single point in their final three games will assure a top-five finish, and a bye to the second round of the playoffs.
They will next take the field on Friday when they host fifth-place Cambuur-Leeuwarden.