RECAP: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Oguchi Onyewu played the full 90 for Twente but could not prevent a 2-1 heartbreak at AZ, while Charles Kazlauskas returned to the starting lineup for Helmond Sport in their romp over Sparta Rotterdam.
AZ Alkmaar 2-1 FC Twente
A stoppage time goal by Erik Falkenburg clinched three points for AZ in a heated Eredivisie clash in Alkmaar.
Luuk de Jong had seemingly earned the visitors a point with his 89th minute equalizer, but Falkenburg's winner ensured a just result.
The D.C. born Onyewu marshaled Twente's backline from the start, but could do nothing to prevent either goal.
AZ started the game as the aggressors and produced a number of dangerous chances in the opening twenty minutes.
It took an own goal, however, to open the scoring in the 26th minute after Dutch international midfielder Theo Janssen headed a cross past his own ‘keeper.
The AZ faithful witnessed an ugly scene in the 44th minute when Twente's Douglas lost his head.
After being hauled down in his own half, the Brazilian fullback swung his arm violently at his Pontus Wernbloom's face in retaliation. Douglas was shown a straight red and reacted by bumping the referee with his upper body.
It took his teammates a full minute to physically restrain Douglas and walk him off the field.
Nick Viergever also earned a red card in the 63rd minute, restoring parity in numbers for the final stanza.
The loss keeps the defending champions in second place, three points behind PSV who were held to a draw by fellow powerhouse Ajax.
Twente next take the field on Wednesday againt Utrecht in the league cup.
Helmond Sport 5-2 Sparta Rotterdam
After conceding an early goal to Johan Voskamp in the third minute, it was all Helmond Sport the rest of the way.
Striker Mark Veldmate notched a goal in each half, while Mark Hocher, Sjoerd Winkens and former Portland Timber Ibad Muhamadu also tallied to give Helmond Sport a commanding 5-1 lead by the 81st minute.
A Jeffrey Altheer own goal rounded out the scoring in the 85th minute, ensuring a slightly less humiliating box score for Sparta, but could do nothing to change the result.
Kazlauskas played the full 90 at right back for the hosts, who are fighting to secure a spot in the promotion playoffs.
The Eerste Divisie champion earns automatic promotion, while the teams that finish second through fifth enter the playoffs. Helmond Sport currently sit in third place, 14 points behind league leaders FC Zwolle, but seven points above of the critical sixth spot.
They will be in action again on Friday when they visit fourth place Volendam.