Sparta Rotterdam – Match Report vs RKC Waalwijk 07/11/20

In a must-win game Henk Fraser’s Sparta Rotterdam grabbed their first three points of the season away against RKC Waalwijk. The visitors opened the score in the 60th minute after Sven Mijnans put in a cross towards striker Thy who scored. Sparta did a lot of defensive work after this, but it didn’t look like they were going to concede a goal. In injury time Abdou Harroui sealed the deal with a nice goal. Because of this win Sparta climbed out of the relegation zone to the 13th spot in the league table.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Abdou Harroui

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch/Moroccan
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 13/01/1998
  • Current club: Sparta Rotterdam
  • Career: Alphense Boys (Y), Sparta Rotterdam
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary position: Right Wing, Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Sparta Rotterdam played a 4-3-3 formation with Abdou Harroui and Ali Auassar as the two central midfielders just behind Bryan Smeets. Abdou Harroui played a very solid game for his side and got rewarded with a very nice goal in the 92nd minute. After getting the ball from Deroy Duarte Harroui started a dribble from just outside the box. He took on Melle Meulensteen and easily passed him with a nice change of pace. From close range he surprised goalkeeper Lamprou with a good shot with his left foot.

Harroui saw a lot of the ball this game and was really dominant in the midfield. The 22-year old had the most touches of all the players on the pitch and really tried to dictate the tempo for his side. He often dropped back to pick up the ball from one of his defenders and then tried to spread the ball out wide or look for a short combination. Harroui’s passing was good throughout the game. He barely made any mistakes and showed that he has a good passing range. Harroui was also very comfortable using his left foot, which helped him out a lot on the ball. The 5’1” tall midfielder was hard to get off the ball as he was quite strong, both also easily turned away from his opponents. He always looked around him very well before taking his first touch and overall was just really press resistant. Furthermore the midfielder had very good technique and just didn’t seem to make any mistakes with his first touches or when dribbling.

His defensive performance made his whole match even more impressive. Sparta played a very low defensive line when RKC had longer spells of possession, but would at times also counter-press in the final third. Harroui did very well here, recovering seven balls on the half of RKC. He also won all of his six defensive duels on his own half.

Rating: A1

It looked like Abdou Harroui was going to leave Sparta for FC Groningen this summer, but the deal didn’t go through. I think FC Groningen would’ve been a great club for him and he can surely play for a midtable side in the Eredivisie.

Sven Mijnans

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 09/03/2000
  • Current club: Sparta Rotterdam
  • Career: Spijkenisse (Y), Sparta Rotterdam
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

The 20-year old Sven Mijnans started for the third time in a row for Sparta Rotterdam and played on the right wing. Mijnans didn’t play as a classic right winger though and would often drop back a bit to pickup the ball. Overall it was an okay performance from the 20-year old Mijnans. His biggest impact came in the 60th minute when he provided the assist for Thy’s opening goal. Mijnans had the ball on the right and passed his opponent around the outside. He put a great cross in with his weaker right foot towards Lennart Thy who was left completely unmarked.

He showed that he can have an impact on the game, but his final product mostly lacked a bit of quality. Harroui often tried to put early balls into the box cutting inside to his left foot, but these passes lacked quality and if they did find a teammate, it was hard for them to do something with them. Mijnans was a lot more dangerous when he put in crosses with his left foot when he had the ball a little closer to the box. His passing overall was quite decent, but he made some unnecessary errors and wrong decisions. Technically Mijnans looked alright, but he often just played quite safe.

Throughout the whole game Sven Mijnans worked very hard and always tracked back nicely to do his defensive work. Mijnans has quite a lean build, but did alright in his defensive duels. He always tried to help right back Abels in his duels against Ola John and made sure that RKC’s left back Wouters didn’t have a lot of space.

Rating: B2

Sven Mijnans did alright as a playmaker from the right side and could become a good player for Sparta. I’m curious to see if he is a bit more comfortable in the centre of the pitch.

Deroy Duarte

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 04/07/1999
  • Current club: Sparta Rotterdam
  • Career: Sparta Rotterdam
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary position: Left Wing, Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Deroy Duarte played in a similar role as Sven Mijnans as a playmaker on the left, but played a bit more centrally with left back Pinto often making rushes and striker Thy roaming on the left side. Duarte saw a lot less of the ball than Mijnans however and struggled to create something for his side. In the 92nd minute he provided the assist to Abdou Harroui after displaying his strength on the ball, he played a simple pass to the midfielder who took on his opponent and scored.

Duarte showed that he has good technique with some good aggressive first touches allowing him to instantly open up the play. He also played some nice long passes from the left side of the pitch to the right side, but made quite some errors in his short passing. Overall Duarte was just not involved enough and it looked like this frustrated himself as well. After making an unlucky hand ball he kicked the ball away out of frustration, which resulted in an unnecessary yellow card.

Rating: C

Technically Duarte looked alright, but he was just invisible for long periods of time this game.

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