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FC Utrecht Defeat Vitesse To Remain In Battle For European Football

FC Utrecht Defeat Vitesse To Remain In Battle For European Football

By Callum McFadden at Stadion Galgenwaard

FC Utrecht 1-0 Vitesse 

Jensen (48)

Ron Jans’ FC Utrecht defeated already relegated Vitesse 1-0 to remain in the hunt for European football via the Eredivisie playoffs.

Utrecht started the game with intent and dominated the majority of possession throughout the game.

Their best opportunity during the opening phase of the game fell to Mark van der Maarel who found himself with a heading opportunity from a Jens Toornstra corner, only to see his headed effort land straight into the hands of Vitesse goalkeeper Eloy Room.

Despite their impressive possession, they should have fallen behind in the 37th minute when Paxten Aaronson dribbled his way into the Utrecht penalty area to fire a shot at goal, only stopped by a fantastic reaction save by Vasilis Barkas.

The home support did not hide their frustration after that glorious opportunity for Vitesse as they demanded more of a cutting edge from their players.

The best Utrecht chance of the first half then fell to Sam Lammers from a floated Toornstra cross. who saw a headed effort well saved by Room.

Both sides went in level at the break and Utrecht manager Ron Jansen responded by making a double change at halftime. Victor Jensen and Zidane Iqbal – formerly of Manchester United – came on in place of Taylor Booth and Oscar Fraulo.

Those changes paid off immediately as just three minutes into the second half, Utrecht finally broke the deadlock when Jensen fired in a powerful shot from the edge of the box to the left of Room who could not keep the ball out despite his best efforts.

The home side pushed on for a second goal while Vitesse for forced back into their own half after the opener.

Chances came and went for Lammers and Toornstra as the second half went on before the full-time whistle went after four minutes of added time.

Victory for FC Utrecht sees them move up to sixth position and all but guarantee a European playoff place.

Meanwhile, Vitesse know they are already relegated and fighting for survival as a club due to poor financial health.

Established Dutch manager and Vitesse player John van den Brom waits in the wings to become their new manager in the summer – with the aim of making an immediate return to the Eredivisie – subject to them being granted a license to continue playing next season.

WFi player of the match: Victor Jensen (FC Utrecht) – the half-time substitute made the crucial difference for Utrecht to keep their European hopes alive.

FC Utrecht: Barkas, El Karouani, Avest (Vesterlund, 85), Viergever, Boussaid (Lidberg, 71), Flamingo, Van der Maarel; Fraulo (Iqbal, 45), Booth (Jensen, 45) Toornstra (Bozdogan, 80), Lammers

Substitutes: Bozdogan, Jensen, Iqbal, Blake, Okkels, Vesterlund, Branderhorst, Lidberg, Mukeh, Held, Dithmer, Romeny

Vitesse: Room, Arcus, Hendriks, Pinto (Cornelisse, 60), Aaronson, Tielemans (Meulensteen, 60), Boutrah (Hadj-Moussa, 76), Van Ginkel (Buitink, 76), De Regt, Oroz, Kozlowski (Domgjoni, 87)

Substitutes: Cornelisse, Buitink, Meulensteen, Domgjoni, Huisman, Hadj-Moussa, Mazilu, Schubert, Bramel