Robin Van Persie had an eventful final few minutes as Feyenoord pulled into a crowded top of the Eredivisie table seven matches into the season.
With Feyenoord and 10-man Vitesse Arnham even at De Kuip in the 87th minute, van Persie took a free-kick from outside the top-right of the box and unleashed a cannon that found the far corner, past a wrong-footed Eduardo. It put Feyenoord up 2-1, and looked in great shape to move into third in the Eredivisie standings.
That is likely van Persie’s final significant game action for some time.
The 35-year-old lunged in studs up from behind on Vitesse substitute Max Clark, earning him a straight red card. That comes with the standard three-match suspension, which would leave van Persie on the sidelines for the team’s big match against second-placed Ajax on October 28. It’s a big loss for Feyenoord, as van Persie is now joint-third in the Eredivisie goal tally with six goals through the first seven matches.
On the other side, Vitesse eventually saw two of its own sent off. First, Thomas Bruns saw a straight red card in the 63rd minute for a dangerous tackle from behind, while Danilho Doekhi earned his second yellow three minutes deep into stoppage time after van Persie had already been sent to the showers.
Anti-LGBT protestors in his homeland reacted with riots, smoke bombs and flares. A rainbow flag was burned outside the headquarters of the Georgian Football Federation, while the defender faced threats and abuse, with calls made for him to be dropped from the national team.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin celebrated Kashia for preaching “tolerance and acceptance, and help(ing to) change perceptions of this minority group in his native country of Georgia.”
Kashia will be honored by the Quakes before their Aug. 29 game against FC Dallas.
Miazga, 22, has gone 90 minutes all but once since rejoining the starting lineup on Sept. 9 in his second loan stint with the club.
So how’s he doing in his bid to pull an Andreas Christensen and put himself on Chelsea’s radar?
Miazga is sixth in minutes for his club despite only playing 60 minutes across his first three matches in easing his way back into Eredivisie life.
His tackle numbers are surprisingly low — .7 per game, good for 16th on Vitesse — but he’s the right side of a dynamite CB partnership as with team captain and Georgian veteran Guram Kashia.
They are first and second on the team in clearances, offsides drawn, and blocks, while Miazga has a stingy .3 times dribbled past per match (WhoScored.com). Miazga’s 5.5 clearances are 15th most in the league, and his .9 blocks sit tied for sixth.
Vitesse is sixth in Eredivisie, in a five or six team mess of teams competing for a spot in the Dutch top flight’s European competition playoffs.
He also scored his first league goal this weekend, nodding home from a corner kick. This on the heels of a strong performance against Lazio in the Europa League. Vitesse picked up a 1-1 draw, with Miazga playing every minute.
The ex-New York Red Bulls man is growing into his skill set in an attack-first league, so it makes sense he’s adding to the offense.
Getting anywhere near the Chelsea team is a challenge, even if Miazga got a look or two after his January 2016 transfer.
Miazga is a year older than Danish CB Andreas Christensen, who got two Borussia Monchengladbach loans before growing into a role with the Blues. And 23-year-old Kurt Zouma is having a good year at Stoke.
The American could do worse than refining his game in the offense-first culture of the Netherlands, and perhaps it would serve him to become a permanent part of their set-up. He’s done enough overseas to become a person of interest for other top tier clubs.