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Dark night for Dutch football (

25 feb 2005 - Source:

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Feyenoord and Ajax have not done Dutch football great favours last night. Both teams were knocked out of the UEFA Cup tournament. In Alkmaar the celebrations were started, though, when AZ, as the only Dutch club, progressed to the next phase.SC Heerenveen, the fourth Dutch club that competed in the UEFA Cup third round, knew beforehand they would have only a tiny chance of reaching the quarter finals. Only ten minutes were on the clock at St. James’ Park when sc Heerenveen defender Michel Breuer killed off the game by scoring an unfortunate own opening goal. Alan Shearer even doubled Newcastle’s advantage by blasting a free kick low into the bottom corner on 25 minutes. The hosts, who were obviously aware of the fact that they had already enjoyed victory in their first leg, then took it easy. Heerenveen scored a consolation in the final stages: they earned a penalty after a Newcastle defender had handled the ball. Former PSV player Arnold Bruggink converted from the spot.SC Heerenveen will play hosts to PSV in the Abe Lenstra Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Ajax defended a slender 1-0 in Auxerre against AJ Auxerre, the team that were eliminated by PSV last season. At half time the score was 1-1- and things still looked bright for the Amsterdam side, but the French ran riot after the break. Substitute Lionel Mathis scored the third and winning goal with a glancing header from a corner five minutes from final time; 3-1.The Feyenoord-Sporting Portugal tie in the Rotterdam Kuip was marred by fireworks and lighters being thrown unto the pitch. The referee even led both teams off and the game was stopped for fifteen minutes, when Sporting had deservedly taken the lead. After the extra interval things got worse for the hosts, when Fabio Rochemback fired home a free kick from some 30 yards out. Hoffs scored a consolation two minutes from final time; 1-2. In Alkmaar the celebrations were started, as put above. The team of coach Co Adriaanse was not in great shape and former PSV striker Erik Meijer scored a headed opening goal for Alemannia Aachen. Barry van Galen scored a superb equalizer and when the German Stehle had been dismissed after he had been shown his second yellow card of the night, AZ showed no mercy. AZ defender Joris Mathijsen tapped home the winning goal from close range. AZ will now meet Shaktar Donetsk in the quarter finals.When we draw up the balance sheet, we cannot but conclude that it was a dark night for Dutch football. Three of the four participating Dutch teams have been knocked out the UEFA Cup and only PSV and AZ have earned crucial points for the ranking.