FC Utrecht suffered a narrow defeat in the away leg of the play-off final for a Europa League ticket. Vitesse were just too strong, winning 3-2. Utrecht will host the return in the Galgenwaard on Saturday .

If Utrecht’s semi-final match against sc Heerenveen in Friesland (for those who have forgotten: Utrecht lost 4-3) was crazy, the match in Arnhem certainly was. Vitesse - FC Utrecht could have gone either way, like a stainless steel ball in a pinball machine.

Leeuwin heads home
Utrecht bounced back from 3-0 down in Heerenveen to level the score at 3-3 before finally losing 4-3. They showed the same resilience in Gelderland. Ramon Leeuwin forcefully headed home a Zakaria Labyad corner to draw level at 1-1 and wipe out Mason Mount’s opening goal just before the break.

A beauty by Labyad
Heads could have hung again 15 minutes before time when Bryan Linssen chalked up the 2-1. But that’s not what Utrecht did. Letting a goal in works more like an energy drink than anything else. And that was shown by Labyad’s scorcher to equalise at 2-2. He rifled the ball into the net from 25 yards. Keeper Jeroen Houwen had no answer to Labyad’s shot.

Twelfth Man makes his presence known
In injury time of a very entertaining match, in which Utrecht were supported by 788 travelling supporters, Guram Kashia decided the final score: 3-2. Vitesse’s captain made sure the match had a winner. But after 90 minutes of football, it’s really only half time. Play resumes again at 20.45 on Saturday.

Return on Saturday
The Galgenwaard will be the theatre and FC Utrecht - Vitesse the star attraction. Then, and only then, will it be known which team is going into Europe: FC Utrecht or Vitesse. Tickets are already on sale for the decider against Vitesse. Tickets are available on the INTERNET and in in the FC Utrecht Fanshop.

Vitesse - FC Utrecht 3-2 (1-0)
42. Mason Mount 1-0
62. Ramon Leeuwin 1-1
78. Bryan Linssen 2-1
86. Zakaria Labyad 2-2
90+1. Guram Kashia 3-2

Yellow cards: Guram Kashia, Bryan Linssen, Mason Mount (Vitesse), Rico Strieder, Sean Klaiber (FC Utrecht).

Attendance: 14,236.

Referee: Jochem Kamphuis.

Vitesse line-up:
Jeroen Houwen; Vyacheslav Karavaev, Guram Kashia, Matt Miazga, Alexander Büttner; Thulani Serero, Navarone Foor, Mason Mount; Roy Beerens (89. Luc Castaignos), Tim Matavz, Bryan Linssen (85. Maikel van der Werff).

FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Giovanni Troupée, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Mark van der Maarel; Rico Strieder (80. Anouar Kali), Sean Klaiber, Yassin Ayoub, Sander van de Streek; Gyrano Kerk (57. Zakaria Labyad), Lukas Görtler.