Report - Ado Den Haag 1-0 Swansea City
Lex Immers` early goal was enough to give the Dutch side the narrow victory as the Swans looked rather jaded having played 2 games in quick succession.
Our Dutch friends Den Haag welcomed the Swans with a warm and friendly atmosphere as both sets of fans merged together at the Kyocera Stadium.
As streamers were released and big green and yellow flags were waved at kick off, it seemed more than just a meaningless friendly as the Dutch fans made themselves heard early on as they welcomed the teams onto an excellent pitch.
Brendan Rodgers named a similar side to the one that started against Haaglandia and VC Sparta, and it`s unlikely to be too dissimilar to the team he`ll use on Saturday when we travel to Hull City for the opening game of the new season.
Serran - Monk - Williams - Tate
Pratley - Agustien - Orlandi
Dyer ------------------------------- Cotterill
Den Haag started the game much the better side as they dominated the opening 20 minutes with some good passing football. The Swans were the opposite though, as they continually lost possession with a number of sloppy passes.
Despite our poor start, we were able to create a few half chances but the home side found it far easily to create clear-cut opportunities in front of goal. Stephen Dobbie tried his luck from outside the box as he fired a shot over the bar. David Cotterill also had an even better chance on 12 minutes, when he robbed a defender of the ball and raced towards goal down the left flank, but his low shot went wide of the far post.
Lex Immers was Den Haag`s main threat up front and after going close twice early on, it was third time lucky for the centre forward as he beat Dutchman De Vries to net the only goal of the game. The Swansea keeper did well to deny Immers with his legs but he was unable to keep out his close range shot on 17 minutes. It was a poor goal to concede for us. A cross came in from the right, and Serran failed to pick up Immers on the far post who netted from a very acute angle.
Ado Den Haag`s organised passing and extra strength across the pitch made it difficult for the Swans for the entire first half as we could hardly link 3 passes together. Our only real chances were gifted from the hosts as now and again they lost the ball in dangerous positions. Monk was guilty of that too mind, as twice he hesitated with the ball in his own half but luckily the opposition were unable to take full advantage. Our only assured defender for the entire 90 minutes was Ashley Williams, who was dealt with everything that came his way.
Stephen Dobbie then had a chance to put the scores level again 6 minutes after we conceded. Nathan Dyer, who had been poor up until then, did well to work the ball to the Scottish striker but he was disappointed after firing a low shot wide.
Den Haag continued to create chances and they were having good luck down the flanks as both Tate and Serran struggled to limit their threat. The latter doesn`t look like being the answer to Rangel`s imminent departure while Tate is far more suited in the centre but he`s very likely to occupy that left back spot regularly this season. Serran gave their left-winger too much time space as he made a run inside but his shot hit the side netting.
The half ended with Kemy Agustien shooting wide of the target from long range.
Both sides headed off to the dressing room and considering the season kicks off in a week`s time, there was little to be inspired about after watching a poor first half performance. Williams looked very solid at the back, and Orlandi was very accurate with his passing unlike his fellow midfielders but our shooting was poor. Both Dobbie and Cotterill fired low shots wide after getting into good clear shooting positions.
Thankfully, the Swans showed an improvement in the second half, as there was more urgency in our attacking play, but we still didn`t have enough quality in front of goal to bring the scores level.
Our best chance came 6 minutes after the restart. Den Haag made a terrible defensive error to lose possession at the back, which gave Dobbie the chance to run on goal, but instead of shooting he squared the ball to Agustien. The Dutch trialist could easily have shot first time with the goal gaping but he took a touch inside and fired over from inside the box. Nathan Dyer also made the wrong decision to pass instead of shoot later on in the game. He got into a good position down the right, but his low cutback cross was intercepted.
Rodgers then made a few chances during the second half; Mark Gower, Gorka Pintado and Angel Rangel all came on. The Spanish right back proved the extra quality he provides down the flank compared to Albert Serran, as it didn`t take him long to create an opportunity for Gorka Pintado. He found the striker with a cross after a good run but his shot flew way off target.
With 20 minutes remaining, there was disappointment for the Swans as Agustien picked up a serious knee ligament injury, which could force him out of action for 2 months. However, it is unlikely to affect our chances of signing him as we are still keen to tie him up to a permanent contract.
Cotterill had a chance later on to equalise as he was given time and space to compose a downward header on goal but it was wide of the target.
The referee blew the full time whistle and while it was good to play our Dutch friends, who produced a superb atmosphere for a friendly match, our performance was mostly poor. Our finishing was very lacking with most of our efforts going well wide of the target and our passing in the first half was lacklustre at times.
We improved in the second half but it was mostly "same old story" as we couldn`t convert chances into goals - or even shots on target. Plenty of shooting practise in training this week hopefully!