FC Utrecht win 3-1 against sc Heerenveen in the away leg of the play-off semi-final for European football.
FC Utrecht got off to a good start in the play-offs for European Football. Trainer/coach Erik ten Hag’s team beat Heerenveen 3-1 thanks to three beautiful goals in the Abe Lenstra Stadium. The return match in the Galgenwaard is this Saturday.
There are goals that take a bit of thinking about and goals that come intuitively. Goals you have to think about take a lot of planning. A quick glance, a guess, a chance, a rethink. And then a shot. Intuitive goals are more spontaneous. They come from nowhere but when they come they are sensational. About 20 minutes before time, Utrecht striker Sébastien Haller got such a goal. The Frenchman scored the 3-1 on the turn with a kind of backward scissor kick from a pass by substitute Richairo Zivkovic. Erwin Mulder was beaten, the travelling Utrecht supporters burst into ecstasy. And social media exploded. Haller’s goal was an instant worldwide hit on the web.
Beauty and functionality
Haller’s goal was so exceptional that it drained the Heerenveen players of any remaining hope of a good result. Heerenveen had been playing well in recent weeks but the Frenchman’s goal put an end to the euphoria that had erupted just ten minutes before when Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard rifled the home team back into the game from a good 20 metres (1-2).
Heerenveen bounce back
With the score at 1-2, both the Frisian team and the home crowd thought they were in with a chance. The Twelfth Man, just under 10,000 in number, got behind Heerenveen and were looking forward to a positive result again. But their hopes were soon dashed.
Amrabat! Yes, Amrabat!
Utrecht took the lead after 15 minutes in Heerenveen. The home team had adapted their play to Utrecht and settled in very deep but the Dom city team found the gaps in the Frisian defence. And Sofyan Amrabat struck home. Yes, Amrabat, the midfielder who had never scored before curled the ball in beautifully. With his 69th shot on goal in 52 matches for Utrecht’s first team, he placed the ball in the top, right-hand corner. Mulder didn’t have a chance against such a world-class ball. The score moved up from 0-0 to 1-0.
Ayoub takes the other corner
Five minutes after Amrabat’s beauty, the other outside midfielder, Yassin Ayoub, put the ball in the net. From a Zakaria Labyad corner he appeared totally unmarked in the Heerenveen box and headed the ball coolly into the goal. Mulder didn’t have a chance and the score moved on from 1-0 to 2-0.
The return in Utrecht on Saturday
The margin remained intact until the end of the game, although the score moved on from 2-0 to 3-1. Utrecht are in an excellent position for the return on Saturday. Kick-off in the Galgenwaard is at 18.30. Score your tickets for the semi-final on the INTERNET or in the FC Utrecht Fanshop!
sc Heerenveen - FC Utrecht 1-3 (0-2)
15. Sofyan Amrabat 0-1
20. Yassin Ayoub 0-2
62. Martin Odegaard 1-2
72. Sébastien Haller 1-3
Yellow cards: Gyrano Kerk, Wout Brama and Sofyan Amrabat (all FC Utrecht).
Referee: Serdar Gӧzübüyük.
sc Heerenveen line-up:
Erwin Mulder; Stefano Marzo, Doke Schmidt, Wouter Faes (76. Henk Veerman), Lucas Bijker; Morten Thorsby, Jeremiah St. Juste (46. Kik Pierie), Stijn Schaars, Morten Odegaard; Arber Zeneli (66. Luciano Slagveer), Sam Larsson.
FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Jeff Hardeveld (82. Edson Braafheid); Wout Brama, Sofyan Amrabat, Yassin Ayoub, Zakaria Labyad (55. Nacer Barazite); Gyrano Kerk (72. Richairo Zivkovic), Sébastien Haller.