RECAP: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Charles Kazlauskas was a second half sub helping Helmond Sport secure a point on the road against the Eerste Divisie leading Zwolle while Oguchi Onyewu watched Twente's disappointing tie with Roda JC from the bench.
FC Zwolle 1 - 1 Helmond Sport
Friday night's game between two of the Eerste Divisie's best ended tied at one apiece, with both teams also finishing a man short.
First place Zwolle, who are trying to hold off Waalwijk for the title, took an early lead when Sjoerd Ars met a free kick from the right with a diving header at the six.
The hosts' advantage was jeopardized in just the 20th minute, though, when defender Eric Botteghin launched himself into Ibad Muhamadu directly from behind, earning a straight red.
Helmond Sport was unable to level the score before halftime despite the man advantage, but it did not take long in the second stanza for the visitors to find the back of the net.
In the 48th minute Mark Veldmate slotted the ball past Diederik Boer from close range after Etienne Esajas had kept the play alive, barely reaching the ball before it crossed the endline.
Just a minute later, however, the visitors' momentum was stolen when Jop Van Der Linden was shown a questionable red card for another challenge from behind, though unlike Botteghin the Helmond Sport leftback never left his feet.
With a scoreline tied at oneand only ten men against the league's first place team, Coach Jurgen Streppel opted to finish the game in a defensive posture and secure a point.
In the 63rd minute he inserted Kazlauskas for Esajas.
Kazlauskas lined up at right back, with Guus Joppen shifting to Van Der Linden's vacant spot on the left. The shift left Veldmate without a great deal of support up top and Helmond Sport never truly threatened again.
Helmond Sport remains in third place after the tie with a home game against Maastricht next weekend.
Michel Preud'homme left Oguchi Onyewu on the bench as Twente tied Roda JC 1-1 at home on Sunday afternoon, with Costa Rican international Bryan Ruiz missing a second half penalty kick. The tie puts Twente with 64 points, two ahead of PSV and three ahead of Ajax with just four Eredivisie games remaining. Gooch and company will host Villarreal in the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal matchup on Thursday, though they may need divine intervention to overturn the 5-1 loss in Spain.