FC Utrecht and NAC Breda drew in the Galgenwaard this afternoon (Sunday). Utrecht took the lead and NAC then turned the game around, but Utrecht had the last word: 2-2.
FC Utrecht and NAC Breda had not much more than 60 seconds to play when defender Mark van der Maarel rifled a Breda cross against his own goalpost. Fortunately, the ball span off the aluminium and back onto the field. And so Utrecht were spared an own goal and a defeat. The score stayed 2-2.
Crazy closing minutes
Van der Maarel’s encounter with the goalpost was typical for the closing minutes of the game. In the last 15 minutes or so, the match could have gone either way. From one end to the other, and swiftly back again. Utrecht and NAC Breda were both going for glory and taking advantage of the spaces that opened up for both sides.
Substitute Venema scores
That Utrecht could still hunt for three points was thanks to a goal by Nick Venema. The FC Utrecht Academy player struck the ball into the back of the net 15 minutes from time following a break by Venema himself and Zakaria Labyad, who set the ball up for the striker from Austerlitz: 2-2.
El Allouchi and Korte hurt Utrecht
The goal in any event wiped out a comeback by NAC Breda. The team from Brabant had been enjoying the sweet taste of a 2-1 lead in the Galgenwaard for half an hour thanks to goals by Mounir El Allouchi (shot in the near corner in the middle of the first half, 1-1) and a tap-in by Giovanni Korte in the third minute of the second half.
Janssen, for the 11th season in a row
El Allouchi and Korte nullified the opening goal by Willem Janssen. Utrecht’s captain shot home a Labyad corner after getting past Fabian Sporkslede: 1-0. It is the 11th Eredivisie season in succession that Janssen has scored at the highest level in the Netherlands.
Happy with a point
Utrecht had the most chances and perhaps deserved a victory. NAC’s goalkeeper Nigel Bertrams, who started the game after first choice keeper Mark Birighitti injured his back during the warming up, was regularly called into action. And when he was beaten there was a Breda defender in the way. In the end, the team with the most corners (13 versus 4), shots on goal (8 versus 4) and possession (59% versus 41%), had to be happy with a point.
The Eredivisie continues for Utrecht in Amsterdam. Utrecht will be playing Ajax in the Amsterdam ArenA on Sunday 5 November. The match against the North Hollanders begins at 14.30.
FC Utrecht - NAC Breda 2-2 (1-1)
19. Willem Janssen 1-0
22. Mounir El Allouchi 1-1
48. Giovanni Korte 1-2
78. Nick Venema 2-2
Yellow cards: Willem Janssen, Zakaria Labyad, Gyrano Kerk (FC Utrecht), Rai Vloet, Giovanni Korte, Arno Verschueren (NAC Breda).
Referee: Christiaan Bax.
FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Urby Emanuelson; Rico Strieder (71. Mark van der Maarel), Sander van de Streek (80. Matty Willock), Yassin Ayoub, Zakaria Labyad; Gyrano Kerk, Cyriel Dessers (71. Nick Venema).
NAC Breda line-up:
Nigel Bertrams; Fabian Sporkslede, Karol Mets, Menno Koch, Jose Angel Tasende; Arno Verschueren, Mounir El Allouchi (81. Paolo Fernandes), Rai Vloet; Giovanni Korte, Thierry Ambrose (83. Thomas Enevoldsen), Manuel Garcia.