Neither Ajax, PSV, Feyenoord, Twente nor AZ played on Saturday so it wasn't a day for big names in the Dutch Eredivisie, but Roda JC put on a show good enough for all of them put together. The club from Kerkrade came back from a goal down while also a man down to defeat FC Groningen in the opening weekend of Eredivisie play. It was a thrilling, tremendous comeback that wasn't completed until the final minutes to steal the show on a day where draws were king in the league.
Without any of the big clubs playing, Saturday could have been a sleepy day in the Netherlands. Roda ensured it wasn't, but some other clubs tossed in their own bit of excitement. NEC Nijmegen scored twice in the final six minutes to earn a point, while RKC Waalwijk bested them with two goals in the final four minutes to earn a point. VVV Venlo and Utrecht didn't do a thing in a 0-0 draw, but on a day devoid of big names, there were more than enough thrilling matches to earn headlines.
Roda JC 2-1 FC Groningen
Roda JC found themselves down a man just 13 minutes into the season when Ruud Vormer was sent off for a push from behind on a man who had a clear path to the goal. Worse off, the foul came inside of the box so the referee awarded a penalty, which was converted, and Roda were down a man and a goal with 77 minutes to play. Someone forgot to tell them that they had no business coming back to win though.
In the 76th minute Roda got themselves a free kick from 25 yards. The wall was weak and unorganized, giving Mark Jan Fledderus an opening low to the left side of the goal. He hit the ball right there with tons of pace and with the keeper screened by his own wall, he was helpless. Parkstad Limburg Stadion erupted and it appeared as if 10-man Roda had done their job to come back and get a point.
The home side weren't done though. In the 88th minute, a long ball from the back was nodded by Sanharib Malki into the path of Mads Junker. The Roda captain gathered and looked for help. He found it in the form of Malki, who quickly went from heading the ball for Junker to making a run right down the middle. Junker delivered a hard, low cross that Malki slid for and poked past a sprawling Groningen keeper for the winning goal. Down a man, no problem for Roda who earned themselves three points in their season opener.
Heerenveen 2-2 NEC Nijmegen
Goals by Oussama Assaidi and Luciano Narsingh put Heerenveen ahead 2-0 after 70 minutes. Playing at home, that lead seemed safe, but a foul in the 84th minute gave NEC a chance. The kick from 35 yards was right to the penalty spot where Bram Nuytinck got a glancing header to it to direct it into the net.
The Heerenveen lead was cut in half, but they still had control of the match. That is until the 85th minute when Viktor Elm brought down a man with a clear path to goal, drawing a red card and putting Heerenveen down a man. Then in the 89th minute Stefan Nijland was able to jump on a rebound and pound it home for the equalizer to net the visitors a point.
RKC Waalwijk 2-2 SC Heracles
The RKC defense looked helpless to start. First they all stood and watched while Everton Ramos da Silva slipped in to the top of the six-yard box to head home the first goal of the match. Later, they watched Glynor Plet split their defense before finishing, another example of terrible defense that had them down 2-0 and starting down a loss.
Heracles opened the door in the 86th minute though when Antoine van der Linden tripped Ricky ten Voorde in the box to give RKC a penalty. Robert Braber converted the penalty and RKC had their chance. One minute from fulltime, they took advantage of that chance when ten Voorde was inexplicably left unmarked right in front of goal. The cross was right on his forehead and he finished to complete the four-minute comeback.
VVV Venlo 0-0 Utrecht
Neither side did much all match in a contest that was always bound for a draw. The one glimmer of hope came in the 79th minute when Roger Molhoek was sent off, but Utrecht didn't do anything with it. The fulltime whistle blew and both teams had exactly what they deserved. A point.