FC Utrecht have reached the final round of the play-offs for European football. Tonight (Saturday) the FC from Dom City beat sc Heerenveen 2-1 in a lively Stadium Galgenwaard. In the final round Vitesse will be the opponent in a double confrontation.

As you know: there is a certain margin. The score is 2-0, so a goal scored by the opponent sc Heerenveen will not be catastrophic. But when Marco Rojas scored the 2-1 for the Frisians fifteen minutes before the end the nervous suspicion hit the crowd in Stadium Galgenweerd. Then it was a fight against sc Heerenveen and against the clock, which seemed to be crawling towards the ninety minutes painfully slowly.

FC Utrecht succeeded in the mission of keeping sc Heerenveen at a distance in the final stage, when Jurgen Streppel’s team played the ‘all or nothing’ option. On willpower, and sometimes at the very end of the rope, the Utrechters gained victory.

Wondergoal by Strieder
Some five minutes before halftime FC Utrecht took the lead. It was Rico Strieder who fired the ball hard into the top corner from some eighteen metres: 1-0. A release of tension on the pitch and a release on the stadium ranks.

And again a scoring Van der Maarel
Defender Mark van der Maarel doubled the margin in less than fifteen minutes after the break. The defender, who received the David di Tommaso Trophee last week, took care of the 2-0 with a beautiful header. From that moment the Utrechters knew that they could afford one counter goal and the Frisians knew that it was going to be a hell of a job. Though Rojas managed to increase the tension, the Utrechters prevailed. And that means that there is a place in the final round based on the away goals rule.

Final round against Vitesse
After FC Utrecht’s wonderful victory against sc Heerenveen De Jong’s team can start preparing for the two final legs against Vitesse. The away match is in Arnhem on Tuesday 15 May and the return match is in Stadium Galgenwaard on Saturday 19 May.

FC Utrecht - sc Heerenveen 2-1 (1-0)
39. Rico Strieder 1-0
58. Mark van der Maarel 2-0
78. Marco Rojas 2-1

Yellow cards: Sander van de Streek, Willem Janssen, Ramon Leeuwin (FC Utrecht), Denzel Dumfries (sc Heerenveen).

Attendance: 14,632.

Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük.

Line-up FC Utrecht:
David Jensen; Giovanni Troupée, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Mark van der Maarel; Rico Strieder, Sean Klaiber, Urby Emanuelson (90. Anouar Kali), Sander van de Streek; Gyrano Kerk (77. Cyriel Dessers), Lukas Görtler (84. Dario Dumic).

Line-up sc Heerenveen:
Martin Hansen (29. Wouter van der Steen); Denzel Dumfries, Daniel Høegh, Dave Bulthuis, Kik Pierie; Morten Thorsby, Yuki Kobayashi (63. Jizz Hornkamp), Pelle van Amersfoort (72. Marco Rojas); Reza Ghoochannejhad, Henk Veerman, Arber Zeneli.