Vitesse clinched all three points and kept a clean sheet, continuing their unbeaten start to the new year. Tighadouini opened scoring with a lovely effort from the edge of the box and Van Wolfswinkel scored the second a couple of minutes later. The hosts barely threatened and the scoreline could have been worse for them, but Vitesse took their foot off the pedal and saw the game through with minimal fuss in the second half.
Vitesse started in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Nathan once again playing in the #10 position, a move which has revitalized the player and the team. The performances have been increasingly convincing and today was no different. Although the game was not a classic, Vitesse performance was disciplined, clinical and professional. This midfield combination was able to keep possession for sustained periods in midfield areas at times, which has been a real problem for the team this season. Nathan works well as a link player, more so than Foor. Although the play is still a bit sloppy and there are situations where players aren’t on the same page, the signs are good that the team will finish the season strongly.
The game started in a scrappy manner with both teams finding it hard to get into attacking areas. The centerbacks on both teams were seeing most of the ball and were launching it forward indiscriminately. However, on the rare occasions the teams kept the ball on the ground, opportunities to create good attacks manifested. While Vitesse defended well and with numbers in such situations, ADO Den Haag failed more often than not. Vitesse were able to catch them on the counter attack multiple times after winning the ball back in midfield. Both goals came from such situations.
In the 29th minute, Van Wolfswinkel set up Tighadouini after some good play from Rashica. Tighadouini’s shot from the edge of the box found the bottom corner. A couple of minutes later, after some smart play in midfield, Baker was able to free Rashica who did well to beat his man and send a ball through to Leerdam. The ADO Den Haag defense was caught flat footed as they waited for a flag that never came. The goalkeeper rushed out but Leerdam calmly poked it through to Van Wolfswinkel who did the rest. A 2-0 lead was established and Vitesse settled into cruise control.
There was little of note in the second half apart from a couple of moments of quality from Baker, Rashica and co. No one really seemed intent on increasing the scoreline and turning the game into a riot and the opposition for their part looked to have given up on the game. Former Vitesse striker Mike Havenaar was brought on to make a difference in the 70th minute by ADO Den Haag and he was causing the defense some headaches from set pieces. Van Wolfswinkel was forced to make a crucial clearance after Room flapped at the corner under pressure from Havenaar. Apart from that, it was a comfortable outing for the goalkeeper.
Vitesse this season have struggled to see games out and control games especially late on. This win was refreshing in the sense that there was no late drama whatsoever. Vitesse have struggled to keep cleansheets, often conceding goals late in the second half and dropping points as a result of that. But in this game they were able to calmly keep possession and keep the ball away from the opposition. Vitesse defense were rarely under pressure and the midfielders in particular worked very hard to track attackers into wide areas so as to support Leerdam and Kruiswijk. In the end, a deserved three points accrued in a comfortable manner.
Room 6; Leerdam 7; Kashia 7; Van der Werff 6; Kruiswijk 7; Nakamba 7; Baker 7; Nathan 7; Rashica 7; Tighadouini 8; Van Wolfswinkel 8