FC Utrecht reached the next round of the Europa League in an amazingly impressive way. The players from Utrecht weathered a Polish storm in the INEA Stadium on Thursday evening and played a 2-2 draw. After last week’s 0-0 in Stadium Galgenwaard it was sufficient to eliminate the sevenfold champion of Poland.
A football roller coaster. One with loopings, sharp bends, corkscrews; all the trimmings included. Lech Poznan – FC Utrecht was such a match in the qualifying round of the Europa League. As a spectator you were emotionally swung from left to right, and when you thought you could catch your breath for a moment, something new happened.
The first looping was a most pleasant one. After forty seconds it was presented. Gyrano Kerk headed the ball into the corner of the goal after a cross by Sean Klaiber. FC Utrecht got exactly what it had hoped for: a quick away goal. Blissful! Time for a party: 0-1!
Hold your breath
The second part of the roller coaster was an uncomfortable one. First there was the offside goal by Christian Gytkjaer, approved by the Danish referee. The Poles unjustly scored 1-1. And then, when the players from Utrecht thought that they would take the lead, the big smile turned into a frown. The whistle was blown for a non-existing foul, but the 1-1 remained unchanged. Hold your breath.
Football pressure cooker
One minute before the final whistle all hands in the air again. Euphoria. Cyriel Dessers, exhausted but plodding along, netted the ball at close quarters. And now the goal was approved. A Utrecht party in a Polish football pressure cooker, again: 1-2!
Hold your breath again
When the fourth official indicated that seven minutes additional time would be added to the match, it was obvious that the margin gained was not a safe one. Gytkjaer made that clear when he – in offside position? – scored the 2-2 in the third minute of the additional time.
Then there were still four minutes to go. To continue the metaphor you think you are in a roller coaster car that moves up painfully slowly. When you look around, you wonder what will follow after the highest point. Disappointment or a wonderful experience. The latter would be the case for FC Utrecht. After 97 minutes of fighting the reward was there: the next round of the Europa League had been reached at the expense of the strong Lech Poznan. An absolute top performance.
Lech Poznan - FC Utrecht 2-2 (1-1)
1. Gyrano Kerk 0-1
25. Christian Gytkjaer 1-1
89. Cyriel Dessers 1-2
90+3. Christian Gytkjaer 2-2
Yellow cards: Nikola Vujadinovic, Mario Situm (Lech Poznan), Willem Janssen, Mark van der Maarel, Ramon Leeuwin, Yassin Ayoub (FC Utrecht).
Referee: Mads-Kristoffer Kristoffersen.
Line-up Lech Poznan:
Matus Putnocky; Emir Dilaver (80. Deniss Rakels), Rafal Janicki, Nikola Vujadinovic, Vladimir Kostevych; Abdul Aziz Tetteh (85. Nicki Nielsen), Lukas Tralka; Maciej Makuszewski, Radoslaw Majewski, Mario Situm (71. Niklas Barkroth); Christian Gytkjaer.
Line-up FC Utrecht:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Mark van der Maarel, Willem Janssen, Edson Braafheid (69. Robin van der Meer); Ramon Leeuwin, Sander van de Streek, Urby Emanuelson (46. Yassin Ayoub), Zakaria Labyad; Gyrano Kerk (74. Giovanni Troupée), Cyriel Dessers.