• Kyodo


In-form Mike Havenaar got his fourth goal in as many games on Saturday as Den Haag held off Groningen 4-3 in the Dutch top flight.

The 194-cm striker made it 3-0 for the home side in the 23rd minute, a downward header at the far post for his seventh goal of the season, before Dion Malone got his second of the day two minutes after the break for his team’s fourth.

Den Haag conceded three goals from there but held on. The team’s third straight win lifted it eight points from the drop zone.

“It was a really good ball, all I had to do was head it in,” Havenaar said. “The team is really coming together now. There are three more goals (to reach double figures) and I’ll go for it.”

Havenaar scored three goals in four games to open the season but had a long dry spell as his team nosedived, winning just two of the following 21 games. But the forward came off the bench to score the winner on March 11 in a 1-0 win over NEC Nijmegen, Den Haag’s first win of the year.

Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic played Havenaar in March last year in a 2018 World Cup second-round qualifier but has not used him since. Havenaar has four goals in 18 games for Japan.

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