FC Utrecht have again taken the full three points. The Dom City team were too strong for Sparta Rotterdam in Het Kasteel this afternoon (Sunday); trainer/coach Erik ten Hag’s team won 3-1.

‘Now, let’s make sure we intercept the cross,’ you could see the Spartans thinking after 70 minutes’ play in Het Kasteel. It was 1-1 at the time and Zakaria Labyad had positioned himself behind the ball and the ball was on the left flank. The free kick he was about to take was an indirect one. So much was clear, everyone knew that much.

Labyad happened
Apart from Labyad. The Utrechter has his own plan. A crafty plan. The kind of plan that can win a game. As long as the execution is perfect of course. Labyad was thinking, ‘I’ll smash the ball into the top corner at the near post. And the execution? Perfect! Ball. Near post. Top corner. Not 1-1 any more: 2-1! Keeper Roy Kortsmit looked stunned. ‘What happened?’ Labyad happened. That’s what happened.

Perfect plan, perfect execution
Sparta Rotterdam were overwhelmed. And the 2-1 lead gave Utrecht an extra boost. A kick, a rush that would be strengthened four minutes later. Gyrano Kerk swept past Sherel Floranus and Michel Breuer and was about to cross to the surging Labyad. Fooled you! Another Utrecht player did what wasn’t expected in Spangen, and once again it was a perfectly executed plan. Labyad was just a diversion. Kerk decided to shoot and he scored. The ball went in at the far post. From 2-1 to 3-1. From ‘Tense’ to ‘We’re sitting pretty’.

The Utreg way
And Utrecht were sitting very pretty. There were no more goals in the last 15 minutes. Utrecht took the points – points that they had laid claim to after 36 seconds. Labyad had shot the ball into the net in the very first minute after a strong run by Kerk. The fastest goal in the Eredivisie this season meant it was 1-0, but Nick Proschwitz equalised for Sparta ten minutes after half time: 1-1. It proved to be a consolation goal for Labyad scored from the free kick half an hour later. Utrecht won in Het Kasteel in the Utreg way.

Rotterdam double
The 3-1 win against Sparta Rotterdam completed a Rotterdam double. Last week Utrecht had been too strong for Excelsior, winning 3-1 at home. The Rotterdam triple can be won on Sunday 10 December, when Feyenoord are the visitors in the Galgenwaard. In the meantime Utrecht will be playing away against PEC Zwolle. The match against the number four in the league kicks off in Overijssel on Friday at 20.00 and tickets are still on sale for travelling fans.

Sparta Rotterdam - FC Utrecht 1-3 (0-1)
1. Zakaria Labyad 0-1
55. Nick Proschwitz 1-1
71. Zakaria Labyad 1-2
75. Gyrano Kerk 1-3

Yellow cards: Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam), Rico Strieder and Mark van der Maarel (both FC Utrecht).

Attendance: 10,432.

Referee: Allard Lindhout.

Sparta Rotterdam line-up:
Roy Kortsmit; Frederik Holst, Sander Fischer, Michel Breuer (80. Ragnar Ache), Sherel Floranus; Kenneth Dougall, Ryan Sanusi, Deroy Duarte, Robert Mühren; Nick Proschwitz, Craig Goodwin.

FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Mark van der Maarel, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Urby Emanuelson; Rico Strieder, Sander van de Streek, Yassin Ayoub (87. Dario Dumic); Gyrano Kerk, Zakaria Labyad.