Nicolas Gavory set up the second goal from a corner. Via Willem Janssen and freshly substituted Jean-Christophe Bahebeck the ball landed at Kerk’s feet, and he gave the leather the final, decisive touch. It was midway through the second half and Utrecht had taken the lead against Fortuna Sittard for the second time: 2-1.
Kerk also took the honours for the first Utrecht goal. The attacker was praised for that goal, but Gavory also deserved a big compliment. The French left back provided a precision cross that gave Utrecht a dream start. Three minutes were on the clock and the score was 1-0.
Personal records smashed
Kerk broke several personal records on this rainy evening. The striker scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season; he had never scored more than six in an Eredivisie season before. He had also never scored two Eredivisie goals against the team from Limburg before. The last time he scored two goals in a league match was on 12 September 2016, playing for Jong FC Utrecht in what was then the Jupiler League, against Fortuna Sittard no less.
No party for Sittard in Utrecht this time
Fortuna Sittard were playing to win the three points that would secure another season in the top tier of Dutch football. But the team in yellow and green were unable to celebrate the milestone in the Galgenwaard, despite a goal by Andrija Balic just before half time (1-1). A year ago the Galgenwaard was the décor for the team’s promotion to the Eredivisie. René Eijer’s men had more than enough chances but Mark Diemers, Ahmed El Messaouidi and others failed to get past keeper David Jensen.
The Eredivisie is taking a break next week. Utrecht are back in league action again on Sunday 12 May. Head trainer Dick Advocaat’s team will face league leaders Ajax in the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The final game of the season will take place on Wednesday 15 May, when Utrecht host sc Heerenveen in the Galgenwaard.
FC Utrecht - Fortuna Sittard 2-1 (1-1)
4. Gyrano Kerk 1-0
44. Andrija Balic 1-1
68. Gyrano Kerk 2-1
Yellow cards: Kai Heerings, Michael Pinto (Fortuna Sittard).
Referee: Edwin van de Graaf.
FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Sean Klaiber, Timo Letschert, Willem Janssen, Nicolas Gavory; Joris van Overeem, Riechedly Bazoer (65. Jean-Christophe Bahebeck), Simon Gustafson, Sander van de Streek (77. Lukas Görtler); Gyrano Kerk, Nick Venema (90. Cyriel Dessers).
Fortuna Sittard line-up:
Alexei Koselev; Calvin Mac-Intosch, Branislav Ninaj, Kai Heerings, Michael Pinto (87. Lisandro Semedo); Jorrit Smeets (70. Amadou Ciss), Andrija Balic, Ahmed El Messaoudi, Mark Diemers (78. Lars Hutten); Lazaros Lamprou, Finn Stokkers.