One record after another broken in Kralingen: 3-1.
FC Utrecht have won 50 points so far this season. The last three points necessary to pass this milestone were taken in Kralingen, where trainer/coach Erik ten Hag’s team beat Excelsior 3-1 to leave the Rotterdammers fighting for their Eredivisie life.
Utrecht seem to have an extra gear and they found it in Kralingen. After the half-time break, the team came out of the starting blocks as powerful, determined and successful as Utrecht-born, Olympic sprinter Dafne Schippers.
Coming back from 1-0 down
The net bulged just four minutes into the second half. Willem Janssen struck home a loose ball from a corner. It wasn’t the greatest of goals but when the ball hobbled over the line the joy was overwhelming: the score was 2-1 for Utrecht and a goal by Mike van Duinen in the fifth minute (1-0) had been rubbed out. That was more important.
What a beauty
It was almost as if Utrecht were thinking, ‘There’s still enough time to score another’. And the team put their thoughts into practice. The third goal was a beauty. Zakaria Labyad rifled home a fantastic shot. The ball hit the crossbar and rebounded back into play, where Sébastien Haller was poised to strike. But what did he do? Instead of heading or kicking the ball himself, he chose a surprise move. The Frenchman played the ball wide to Gyrano Kerk, who simply tapped it in to make it 3-1. There were still only ten minutes on the clock in the second half.
Utrecht had also scored just before half time. That goal (the 1-1) will go down in history. For the man who scored it – Haller, from the penalty spot – it was his 41st for Utrecht. It made him Utrecht’s top foreign scorer of all time in the Eredivisie. Before converting his penalty the striker had been sharing the record with the Belgian, Stefaan Tanghe.
300 and 50
Another milestone had been passed when referee Jeroen Manschot blew his whistle to start the game. Utrecht versus Excelsior saw midfielder Wout Brama play his 300th match in the Eredivisie. And when Manschot blew the final whistle to end the game, Utrecht had won their 48th, 49th and 50th points of the season, another milestone. It is the third time in the club’s history that it has passed the magical limit of 50 points from 29 games.
Sunday the cracker against FC Twente
Utrecht can now turn their sights to the cracker on Sunday. FC Twente, number seven in the Eredivisie, will be visiting the Galgenwaard to play against the number four in the table. Tickets are selling fast and there are only a few still available. Score yours now online or in the FC Utrecht Fanshop!
Excelsior - FC Utrecht 1-3 (1-1)
5. Mike van Duinen 1-0
39. Sébastien Haller (penalty) 1-1
49. Willem Janssen 1-2
55. Gyrano Kerk 1-3
Yellow cards: Kevin Vermeulen, Jordy de Wijs, Stanley Elbers (all Excelsior), Sean Klaiber, Giovanni Troupée, Willem Janssen, Sébastien Haller (FC Utrecht).
Referee: Jeroen Manschot.
Warner Hahn; Khalid Karami, Jordy de Wijs, Jurgen Mattheij, Milan Massop (74. Bas Kuipers); Hicham Faik (16. Jeffry Fortes), Ryan Koolwijk, Fredy Ribeiro; Stanley Elbers, Mike van Duinen, Luigi Bruins (31. Kevin Vermeulen).
FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Giovanni Troupée (70. Mark van der Maarel), Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Kevin Conboy; Wout Brama, Sean Klaiber (82. Andreas Ludwig), Yassin Ayoub, Zakaria Labyad; Gyrano Kerk (65. Nacer Barazite), Sébastien Haller.