FC Utrecht took home a point from sc Heerenveen this evening (Saturday). Utrecht took the lead, but saw their advantage turned around in the freezing cold. The Utrecht equaliser came shortly before time: 2-2.

We don’t know precisely what he was told. But the instructions substitute Cyriel Dessers was given when he came on six minutes before the end are easy to guess. One word would do: Score! Get a goal one way or another. Heerenveen’s 2-1 lead had to be wiped out. Utrecht couldn’t leave Heerenveen without any points. One point from the Abe Lenstra Stadium would do, as long as Dessers could score.

Bull’s eye!
And he did! A couple of minutes after the Belgian came on, Yassin Ayoub fed him the ball. He turned away from his marker, Lucas Woudenberg, and did what every true striker does: shoot. Goalkeeper Martin Hansen couldn’t get to the ball as it curled into the net. Bull’s eye! 2-2! And a point for Utrecht at the death.

Van der Maarel strikes
Utrecht ended the game just as strongly as they had begun it. Utrecht sprinted out of the blocks in skate-city Heerenveen. Bang, boom, there was no stopping them. After 15 minutes one of the many chances was converted. Captain Mark van der Maarel struck the ball on the turn and opened the score: 0-1.

After that irresistible start, Utrecht slowly but surely lost their grip on the game. Heerenveen drew level in the closing minutes of the first half thanks to Morten Thorsby, and Reza Ghoochannejhad put them ahead 15 minutes before time. Many Friesians secretly thought the three points were in the bag, but those who did hadn’t reckoned on the resilience of FC Utrecht and the deadly efficiency of Cyriel Dessers.

Willem II in two weeks
Utrecht’s next Eredivisie match is in two weeks. The opponents on 31 March are Willem II away. There are no league matches next week on account of international fixtures.

sc Heerenveen - FC Utrecht 2-2 (1-1)
18. Mark van der Maarel 0-1
39. Morten Thorsby 1-1
76. Reza Ghoochannejhad 2-1
88. Cyriel Dessers 2-2

Yellow card: Lukas Görtler (FC Utrecht).

Attendance: 18,700.

Referee: Bas Nijhuis.

sc Heerenveen line-up:
Martin Hansen; Denzel Dumfries, Daniel Høegh, Kik Pierie, Lucas Woudenberg; Stijn Schaars, Yuki Kobayashi (83. Pelle van Amersfoort), Morten Thorsby; Martin Ødegaard, Reza Ghoochannejhad (87. Henk Veerman), Arber Zeneli.

FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Ramon Leeuwin, Dario Dumic (84. Lukas Görtler), Mark van der Maarel; Rico Strieder, Mateusz Klich (71. Urby Emanuelson), Yassin Ayoub, Sander van de Streek; Zakaria Labyad, Gyrano Kerk (84. Cyriel Dessers).