FC Utrecht kicked of the calendar year with a draw. Trainer/coach Jean-Paul de Jong’s team showed their character against AZ tonight (Friday). Striker Cyriel Dessers came on as a substitute to score the equaliser: 1-1.

Gyrano Kerk’s run is beautiful, typical of the attacker. Once he gets going, his markers can rarely stop him. And 15 minutes before time in the league match against AZ he showed his skills again. Kerk kept his cool and played a measured ball into the centre. Zakaria Labyad deliberately let it go. He instinctively knew that Cyriel Dessers was somewhere behind him. And he was right. Dessers slotted the ball coolly behind the AZ keeper, Marco Bizot. Goal! 1-1!

Not always effective
Dessers’ strike didn’t come out of the blue, but it was one of the first to end between the posts and under the bar. Utrecht regularly threatened AZ’s goal but it was not always effective. The ball went over and wide but rarely where it should have gone.

AZ defender Jonas Svensson was the first player to score a goal in the Galgenwaard in 2018. The pitch was not in the best of conditions following the snow-clearing operations in mid-December and Svensson was in the right place at the right time to latch on to a corner by the Alkmaar team. The ball fell at his feet and he rifled it into the net leaving everyone else standing: 0-1.

Sleeves rolled up
Utrecht showed their true character. ‘No, we’re not going to lose here tonight. We’re going to get at least one point against AZ’, the Utrechters seem to say. And that’s what they did. Substitute Dessers’ goal was the reward they deserved.

Super week
The term ‘super week’ is not out of place. After the game against the third team in the Eredivisie, AZ, the fifth team, Feyenoord, will be visiting the Galgenwaard next Wednesday. The is a rearranged fixture. The original match before the winter break was called off owing to the atrocious weather.

FC Utrecht - AZ 1-1 (0-0)
55. Jonas Svensson 0-1
74. Cyriel Dessers 1-1

Yellow cards: Yassin Ayoub, Gyrano Kerk (FC Utrecht), Wout Weghorst, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Stijn Wuytens (AZ).

Attendance: 18,457.

Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük.

FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Mark van der Maarel, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Robin van der Meer; Urby Emanuelson (56. Cyriel Dessers), Sean Klaiber, Yassin Ayoub, Sander van de Streek (64. Odysseus Velanas); Gyrano Kerk, Zakaria Labyad (90+4. Lukas Görtler).

AZ line-up:
Marco Bizot; Jonas Svensson, Ricardo van Rhijn, Stijn Wuytens, Thomas Ouwejan; Fredrik Mitsjø, Guus Til, Teun Koopmeiners; Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Wout Weghorst, Jeremy Helmer (77. Oussama Idrissi).