With the smallest difference FC Utrecht was beaten by sc Heerenveen Wednesday evening in the Abe Lenstra Stadium. In Friesland a crazy game unfolded in which seven goals were scored: 4-3. Saturday the return will be played in Utrecht. Fifty minutes played. The scoreboard in Friesland showed a painful intermediate score for everyone who supports FC Utrecht: 3-0. Number eight of the Eredivisie sc Heerenveen seemed on their way to kick the ass of the number five from Utrecht.

Continue with ten
But, as happened before, the Utrecht team showed character and fighting spirit, starting with Zakaria Labyad who headed the rebound after a blocked shot from Mateusz Klich into the goal: 3-1. Hope. And where there is hope, there is life. But directly after the goal, a minute after Labyad scored, Yassin Ayoub recieved two yellow cards within seconds. And was thus sent off with a red card. FC Utrecht continued with ten, what a setback.

Fighting spirit
But even then, trainer/coach Jean Paul de Jong’s team managed to keep fighting. Yes, sc Heerenveen led 3-1 and played with eleven against ten. But play-offs are also about showing fighting spirit, grabbing the last straw. FC Utrecht know that, proven by the epic final last season. When Labyad, sixty minutes into the game, scored the tying goal with a phenomenal free kick, the 580 fans who travelled along started to believe again. And so did the ten men on the pitch.

In fifteen minutes from 3-0 to 3-3
Two minutes later? Another goal! Urby Emanuelson shot and the ball bounced, via former FC Utrecht player Dave Bulthuis, in Martin Hansen’s goal: 3-3! Unbelievable, but it happened. In fifteen minutes the score went from 3-0 (goals by the Japanese Yuki Kobayashi, Iranian Reza Ghoochannejhad and Danish Daniel Høegh) tot 3-3. Sensational.

Then the 4-3
In the last fifteen minutes of the game the Frisians increased their pressure. They seemed to realise that they were playing a home game, had a prevalence in numbers and basically just had to win this game. For a long time FC Utrecht managed to endure the Frisian attack, but  a few moments before the final whistle they could not persist anymore. Denzel Dumfries pounded the ball in the upper corner and determined the final score: 4-3. That is the starting point for the return. 

Return on Saturday!
The return will be played Saturday in Stadium Galgenwaard at 20.45. Tickets for the deciding game in the play-offs semi finals are available online and in the FC Utrecht fan shop. And, on match day at the stadium counters.

sc Heerenveen - FC Utrecht 4-3 (2-0)
9. Yuki Kobayashi 1-0
23. Reza Ghoochannejhad 2-0
48. Daniel Høegh 3-0
50. Zakaria Labyad 3-1
63. Zakaria Labyad 3-2
65. Urby Emanuelson 3-3
87. Denzel Dumfries 4-3

Yellow cards: Kik Pierie, Dave Bulthuis (sc Heerenveen), Dario Dumic, Sean Klaiber, Rico Strieder (FC Utrecht).

Red card: 51. Yassin Ayoub (FC Utrecht, two times yellow).

Attendance: 17,225.

Referee: Ed Janssen.

Line-up sc Heerenveen:
Martin Hansen; Denzel Dumfries, Daniel Høegh, Dave Bulthuis, Kik Pierie; Morten Thorsby, Yuki Kobayashi, Pelle van Amersfoort (72. Marco Rojas); Reza Ghoochannejhad (88. Jizz Hornkamp), Henk Veerman, Arber Zeneli.

Line-up FC Utrecht:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Ramon Leeuwin, Dario Dumic, Mark van der Maarel; Rico Strieder, Mateusz Klich (57. Lukas Görtler), Urby Emanuelson, Yassin Ayoub; Gyrano Kerk (82. Giovanni Troupée), Zakaria Labyad (82. Cyriel Dessers).