European adventure is over

30 juli 2007

In the Intertoto competition FC Utrecht was eliminated by Hammarby IF. In stadium Galgenwaard FC Utrecht did not perform any better than a 1-1 draw in the return match against the Swedish players. That was insufficient for participation in the UEFA-Cup tournament. FC Utrecht played anxiously and played too little forward, coach Willem van Hanegem said.

While the stadium was filled with over ten thousand spectators, FC Utrecht got stuck in a draw. With Robin Nelisse and Giuseppe Rossini playing as strikers, the team started off well. Rossini did an excellent job receiving passes in the front and Nelisse managed to make things hard for his opponent regularly. After fifteen minutes he rounded off a combination with Caluwé and Rossini with a shot that was too weak to get a lead. In that phase FC Utrecht locked up the Swedish opponent tightly and the spectators one and all supported the team. In the last fifteen minutes of the first half the Swedish players were dangerous several times. The score remained even, because Franck Grandel performed well and because Rossini headed a corner ball just over on the other side.Rossini, completely uncovered, headed the ball into the hands of the keeper of Hammerby.

Leroy George made his appearance after the break. He substituted Hans Somers and played more forward on the left side. After twenty minutes Robin Nelisse was attentive when Hammerby played back a ball carelessly to keeper Lekström. The Utrecht forward acted quickly and rounded off this opportunity with perfection. The 1-0 lead provided FC Utrecht with a prospect of the preliminary round of the UEFA-Cup. The moment of joy in the stadium was short-lived. One minute later a corner by Hammerby that passed through, was badly handled by the Utrecht defence. Defender David Johansson scored at the second post. The home team knew that with this score they would be eliminated, but that nonetheless they had a chance against the Swedish players. The hope for another goal was shot to pieces after Sander Keller had been shown a red card by referee Dean from England. Utrecht brought in Erik Pieters as a substitute for Etienne Shew-Atjon and strained every nerve, but FC Utrecht failed to score again.

Coach Willem van Hanegem was surprised that his team did not play more offensively. ´We play football in our own stadium and we know that we have to score. Then you should play more offensively and I saw a team doing that too little´, Willem van Hanegem said after the match. ´The difference between the away match and the home match was far too big. We have given a poor show´, trainer John van Loen said.  ´In the front we really had our chances, but it was not good enough. The team went to all lengths and we know that we have problems with scoring. It is disappointing that right after the 1-0 we make a covering mistake when the counter goal is scored.´

Spectators stadium Galgenwaard: 10.200

FC Utrecht: Franck Grandel, Tim Cornelisse, Etienne Shew-Atjon (`69 Pieters), Robin Nelisse, Tom Caluwé, Gregoor van Dijk, Giuseppe Rossini, Rick Kruys (`84 Van Buuren), Sander Keller, Hans Somers (`45 George), Francis Dickoh
Hammarby IF: Benny Lekström, David Johansson, Jose Monteiro, Christian Traoré, Lovay Chanko, Sebastian Egvren, Petter Andersson, Ljunnar Tkor Gunnarsson (`45 Jensen), Erkan Zengin (Castro Tello), Harris Laitinen, Paulo Chamon de Castilho (`80 Davies)


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