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Twente claim maiden Eredivisie title

Published: Sunday 2 May 2010, 18.29CET
FC Twente have wrapped up their first Eredivisie title with a 2-0 win at NAC Breda to hold off the challenge of AFC Ajax and earn a place in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage.
by Berend Scholten

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Published: Sunday 2 May 2010, 18.29CET

Twente claim maiden Eredivisie title

FC Twente have wrapped up their first Eredivisie title with a 2-0 win at NAC Breda to hold off the challenge of AFC Ajax and earn a place in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage.

A 2-0 win at NAC Breda was enough for FC Twente to seal a first Eredivisie title since the club's formation in 1965.

Steve McClaren's side, who are now assured of a place in next season's UEFA Champions League group stage, had enjoyed a nine-point lead at the summit earlier in the season, but they went into the last round of matches just a solitary point clear of AFC Ajax. The Amsterdam giants triumphed 4-1 at NEC Nijmegen to keep up the pressure, but it was not enough to steal Twente's thunder.

"This is fantastic for the players, the chairman and the staff," said former England coach McClaren. "We really deserved the title. The players were very relaxed; I even feared they were too relaxed for a while. But they have lots of experience in big European matches. When you are capable of winning at Fenerbahçe [in the UEFA Europa League], then you know you also are capable of winning the championship in Breda."

The decisive moment in Breda came on 21 minutes when the hosts were reduced to ten men following the dismissal of Csaba Fehér. Twente's leading scorer Bryan Ruiz took his tally for the campaign to 24 with the opening goal two minutes later and Miroslav Stoch then sealed the win with 16 minutes remaining.

Ajax, who have not claimed the Dutch title since 2003/04, will now have to qualify for the UEFA Champions League via the third qualifying round despite 14 successive league wins to round off the season. "In many nations that is enough for the title, but not in the Netherlands this season," said coach Martin Jol. "One club was even better then us – my congratulations to FC Twente."

PSV Eindhoven finished third and will contest the UEFA Europa League play-offs next term, with fourth-placed Feyenoord and fifth-placed AZ Alkmaar also set for the same competition. Feyenoord leapfrogged last year's champions AZ courtesy of a 6-2 success against SC Heerenveen that featured a hat-trick from Roy Makaay in his last ever league appearance.

"I didn't feel nervous before the match because I've never felt that way throughout my career, but I had a special feeling as it was my last league game," the former Dutch international said. "When I was substituted, I realised it was over."

Last updated: 03/05/10 16.16CET

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