Could you keep cool? The scoreboard’s displaying 1-0 for Utrecht and you’re face to face with Vitesse goalkeeper Remko Pasveer. If you beat the goalie and put the ball into the net, European football is as good as certain for your club, your team and your supporters. Could you stay calm?
You could if you were Simon Gustafson. Fifteen minutes before the end of the decider against Vitesse for a ticket for European football, the cool Scandinavian dribbled past the keeper without breaking step and slotted the ball into the goal: 2-0. Game over. Match won. FC Utrecht? Into Europe!
Dessers opens the score
It was a richly deserved victory. FC Utrecht had been stronger than Vitesse in the home leg but had failed to turn their superiority into goals. They did in the GelreDome! Thanks to Gustafson and also to Cyriel Dessers, who netted for the third time in his last five appearances. The Belgian striker gave Utrecht a 1-0 lead after 30 minutes’ play in Arnhem, much to the delight of the thousand away supporters.
Utrecht have now qualified for European football via the pay-offs for the fifth time. Last time they did so was also on 28 May; then – in 2017 – they beat John van den Brom’s AZ team. In 2019/2020, he will be guiding Utrecht into Europe. Dick Advocaat is leaving Utrecht by winning the play-offs and achieving European football.
Vitesse - FC Utrecht 0-2 (0-1)
31. Cyriel Dessers 0-1
77. Simon Gustafson 0-2
Yellow cards: Matus Bero (Vitesse), Nicolas Gavory (FC Utrecht).
Red card: 78. Mohammed Dauda (Vitesse).
Referee: Danny Makkelie.
Remko Pasveer; Vyacheslav Karavaev, Maikel van der Werff, Danilho Doekhi, Max Clark; Martin Ødegaard, Thulani Serero, Navarone Foor (64. Thomas Buitink); Alexander Büttner (46. Matus Bero), Tim Matavz, Bryan Linssen (46. Mohammed Dauda).
FC Utrecht line-up:
Nick Marsman; Sean Klaiber, Emil Bergström, Willem Janssen, Nicolas Gavory; Rico Strieder, Lukas Görtler, Simon Gustafson; Gyrano Kerk (85. Mark van der Maarel), Cyriel Dessers (61. Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, 85. Michiel Kramer), Sander van de Streek