Utrecht have won their first three pointer of 2018. The team was too strong for Sparta Rotterdam in the Galgenwaard tonight (Wednesday): 1-0.

It was a long wait. Waiting for the one ball that fell right. The one cross that wasn’t intercepted by a Spartan but found a Utrechter. Waiting for that little bit of luck, the moment when all the pieces came together.

Ersatzspieler decides the match
And as is so often the case, waiting on this ice cold evening in the Galgenwaard was rewarded. An Ersatzspieler was needed to decide the game. Trainer/coach Jean-Paul de Jong brought on Lukas Görtler seven minutes before time and gave him just one mission: Score! It didn’t matter how. Score! Two minutes later, La Cucamarcha blasted out of the Utrecht speakers. Who scored? The brand new German substitute, Lukas Görtler, of course. He received the ball from Zakaria Labyad and fired it into the far corner: 1-0. Relief all round. The first three pointer of 2018 was a fact.

Jensen beats Holst and Duarte
A couple of minutes later and ‘nearly there’ became ‘made it’. The match had been heavily fought but it didn’t matter. It was all about the points, and they were staying in Utrecht. With a special thanks to keeper David Jensen, for he neutralised strikes by Frederik Holst and a little later Deroy Duarte. During that part of the match, the first phase of the second half, Sparta took the initiative on the new Utrecht pitch.

Hero of the night
That Sparta Rotterdam were able to dream of taking a lead was down to Utrecht. They had chances to take a quick lead against Dick Advocaat’s team but couldn’t put them away. So it was a long wait for the decisive goal. It came five minutes before time. And Görtler was the hero of the night.

Saturday: FC Utrecht - PEC Zwolle
Utrecht’s next home fixture is this Saturday, when PEC Zwolle will be the visitors on the Galgenwaard. The match kicks off at 18.30.

FC Utrecht - Sparta Rotterdam 1-0 (0-0)
85. Lukas Görtler 1-0

Yellow cards: Cyriel Dessers (FC Utrecht), Bart Vriends (Sparta Rotterdam).

Attendance: 15,929.

Referee: Dennis Higler.

FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Mark van der Maarel (64. Urby Emanuelson); Rico Strieder, Mateusz Klich (74. Sander van de Streek), Yassin Ayoub, Zakaria Labyad; Gyrano Kerk (83. Lukas Görtler), Cyriel Dessers.

Sparta Rotterdam line-up:
Jannik Huth; Frederik Holst, Bart Vriends (88. Ragnar Ache), Julian Chabot, Sander Fischer, Miquel Nelom; Ryan Sanusi, Deroy Duarte, Kenneth Dougall; Fred Friday, Soufyan Ahannach (71. Robert Mühren).