Erik ten Hag’s team miss the boat: 2-1.
Just when both FC Utrecht and Heracles Almelo seemed happy to settle for a draw in the Polman Stadium, Heracles captain Thomas Bruns appeared in front of Utrecht’s goal and had two shots at keeper David Jensen. Jensen blocked the first but Bruns struck home with the rebound. 2-1 and three points for Heracles Almelo to take it up to ninth place in the Eredivisie.
Bruns’s winning goal was revenge for the 0-1. The artificial grass in the Polman Stadium in Almelo showed its best side in the first 20 minutes. The ball moved quickly from left to right and Utrecht made the most of its speed. Utrecht had chance after chance in the opening period. Haller, Troupée, Barazite all regularly popped up in front of Heracles’ keeper Bram Castro. But only Yassin Ayoub managed to work the ball into the net.
The exhibition football stopped after Utrecht took the lead. The team went to sleep and were powerless in front of goal. Utrecht kept Heracles Almelo in the game. Immediately after the start of the second half, Heracles profited from Utrecht’s lack of concentration. A diagonal cross wasn’t cleared properly, Jensen was wrong-footed and Brandley Kuwas chalked up the equaliser.
The away supporters sagely agreed, Utrecht had only themselves to blame for the loss. With just one point from the last two games, they will hold on to fourth place until at least Sunday afternoon but they are going to have to pull out all the stops if they want to be fourth at the end of the season. Erik ten Hag’s team are on their travels again next week. The opponents on Saturday 18 March are N.E.C. Nijmegen.
Heracles Almelo – FC Utrecht 2-1 (0-1)
26. Yassin Ayoub
47. Brandley Kuwas
90. Thomas Bruns
Yellow cards: FC Utrecht - Mark van der Maarel, Wout Brama, Kevin Conboy
Referee: Jochem Kamphuis
Heracles Almelo line-up:
Bram Castro; Tim Breukers; Mike te Wierik; Robin Pröpper; Samuel Armenteros; Thomas Bruns; Joey Pelupessy; Brandley Kuwas (92. Jaroslav Navratil); Kristoffer Peterson (63. Brahim Darri); Robin Gosens; Justin Hoogma
FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Giovanni Troupée; Mark van der Maarel (46. Ramon Leeuwin); Willem Janssen; Kevin Conboy; Yassin Ayoub; Wout Brama; Sofyan Amrabat; Nacer Barazite (81. Richairo Zivkovic); Sebastien Haller; Gyrano Kerk (68. Zakaria Labyad)