Willem II safe, FC Emmen into relegation play off
In the previous round of fixtures, ADO Den Haag and VVV were relegated. In the final week of fixtures, there was one final place to be decided. Before the start of the final round, FC Emmen was sitting in 16th with 27 points and a goal difference of -32. Willem II sat in 15th with 28 points and -29 goal difference.
RKC Waalwijk were theoretically not save yet as they had 30 points, however their goal difference was far superior better than the goal difference of Emmen, -19. Emmen faced the already relegated VVV in an away game while Willem II played at home against Fortuna Sittard.
FC Emmen face play-off despite heavy win
Despite FC Emmen hammering VVV 4-0, their fate was sealed due to Willem II narrowly beating Fortuna Sittard 2-1.
There were four different goal-scorers for Emmen, who will go into the play-offs full of confidence after the resounding win.
Luka Adzic broke the deadlock in the 36th minute, before Sergio Pena doubled their lead. Further goals from Michael de Leeuw and substitute Paul Gladon completed the scoring.
Willem II stay afloat
Emmen piled on the pressure for Willem II as they were aware that only a win would avoid them slipping into 16th. It took until the stroke of half-time for them to break the deadlock when Vangelis Pavlidis found the net with an excellent solo goal.
Ready for some content? 😜 pic.twitter.com/CjfJwDPB0V
— Willem II (@WillemII) May 16, 2021
However, three minutes into the second half, Fortuna shocked the hosts with an equaliser, scored by Zian Flemming scored the 1-1 and Emmen were temporarily safe.
All eyes were on the game in Tilburg and it didn’t disappoint. A goal from an unlikely source – Sebastian Holmen – sparked celebratory and joyous scenes after the game.
Willem II held onto their lead during an exciting 25 minutes and confirmed their stay in the top division for another season.
Quite a day 😜
— Willem II (@WillemII) May 17, 2021
All matches started at the same time, and there were still three teams in the race for the last play-off place for the Conference League. Sparta Rotterdam and Heracles Almelo were tied on 44 points with a goal difference of 0 and -7 respectively, while Fortuna Sittard had 41 points and a goal difference of -7.
Fortuna Sittard needed a win against Willem II. Heracles faced number AZ Alkmaar in an away game, where they had not managed to get a result in a league game in the last 14 seasons. Sparta were favourites as they were playing away against Heerenveen, who were already safe from relegation and had little to play for.
Sparta edge past Heerenveen
Sparta had only lost 1 of their last nine games and they began the game perfectly with an opening goal after only seven minutes. Lennart Thy scored with a powerful shot that found the top left hand corner. Heerenveen had never come back from behind this season to win so the omens weren’t good.
In the 16th minute, it got better for Sparta. Wouter Burger placed a shot from distance into the corner and left goalkeeper Erwin Mulder without a chance.
Heerenveen halved the deficit midway through the second half with a goal from Siem de Jong. The hosts pushed for an equaliser but Sparta held on to make it to the play-offs for the UEFA Conference League.
AZ hammer Heracles
In the other match, it was a resounding win for AZ Alkmaar who hammered Heracles 5-0 with two goals each from Myron Boadu and Jesper Karlsson. In the 41st minute, Myron Boadu broke the deadlock with his 14th goal of the season.
In the second half AZ continued to show good combination football, which resulted in two goals by Karlsson. Boadu scored his second of the game, chipping the ball over the Heracles goalkeeper.
Heracles were defeated and AZ continued to dominate as they received another penalty. Owen Wijndal hit the crossbar, but scored his own rebound to make it 5-0.
Play off picture
FC Emmen will face NAC Breda in the semi final of the relegation play offs. NAC managed to beat FC Volendam in the quarter final 4-1. The other semi final is between Roda JC and NEC.
Feyenoord will play the Rotterdam derby against Sparta in the semi finals of the Conference League playoffs. The other semi final is between the sides who finished 6th and 7th, FC Utrecht and FC Groningen.
Featured image: Willem II players come outside to celebrate their victory together with the supporters after the Dutch Eredivisie match between Willem II and Fortuna Sittard at the Koning Willem II stadium on May 16, 2021 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. ANP JEROEN PUTMANS (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)