FC Utrecht brush Heracles Almelo aside in the Galgenwaard: 2-0.
FC Utrecht can add another three points to their tally. Trainer/coach Erik ten Hag’s team beat Heracles Almelo 2-0 in the last home game of 2016.
In one of Heracles Almelo’s rare attacks, Brahim Darri missed a sitter. Mark van der Maarel went to the limit with a perfectly timed sliding tackle to neutralise the threat and protect the 1-0 lead.
The flying Dane
Heracles tried again soon after, this time with a shot from distance. Robin Gosens rocketed the ball towards the top corner. Some people in the stands had already conceded the goal and were coming to terms with it. But they hadn’t reckoned on David Jensen, the flying Dane. The giant keeper dived and pushed the ball with his fingertips against the bar. The chance had gone and the nil was still on the scoreboard.
Te Wierik lends a helping hand
Make no mistake, the nil was for Heracles Almelo. The team might have been playing but it definitely wasn’t the best team in the Galgenwaard. That was FC Utrecht. And after half an hour’s play it had a ‘1’ behind its name. A well deserved ‘1’. A ‘1’ that came from a corner. Nacer Barazite took it, Willem Janssen came a couple of centimetres too short but, like his teammates, he was helped out by Mike te Wierik. The defender worked the ball into his own net: 1-0.
The lead was the outcome of excellent play by Utrecht. The team knew how to deal with the five-man defence of the Overijssel side, which had nothing to say at all in the first half. Heracles didn’t come into the game until after the break, when trainer John Stegeman replaced defender Robin Pröpper with the creative Brandley Kuwas.
Haller gets the decider
Five minutes before time, 17,000-plus football fans were finally allowed to relax. Sébastien Haller was brought down in the box. Referee Bas Nijhuis pointed to the spot. Haller himself claimed the ball and slotted home his 13th penalty in the Eredivisie: 2-0, over and out. Another three points, a direct rival beaten and another clean sheet.
FC Utrecht is playing three matches this week – after Heracles at home come PEC Zwolle away on Wednesday and then Roda JC Kerkrade away on Saturday. The team got off to a good start today. It’s all or nothing on Wednesday because the fixture is a cup tie, kick-off at 18.30. If it’s up to the supporters it will be another victory and another clean sheet.
FC Utrecht - Heracles Almelo 2-0 (1-0)
32. Mike te Wierik (own goal) 1-0
85. Sébastien Haller (penalty) 2-0
Yellow cards: Sofyan Amrabat, Ramon Leeuwin (both FC Utrecht) en Samuel Armenteros (Heracles Almelo).
Red card: 90. Tim Breukers (Heracles Almelo, fouling a player through on goal).
Referee: Bas Nijhuis.
FC Utrecht line-up:
David Jensen; Giovanni Troupée, Ramon Leeuwin, Willem Janssen, Robin van der Meer; Rico Strieder (21. Mark van der Maarel), Sofyan Amrabat, Yassin Ayoub, Nacer Barazite (68. Andreas Ludwig); Richairo Zivkovic, Sébastien Haller.
Heracles Almelo line-up:
Bram Castro; Tim Breukers, Mike te Wierik, Robin Pröpper (46. Brandley Kuwas), Justin Hoogma, Robin Gosens; Joey Pelupessy, Lerin Duarte (81. Vincent Vermeij), Thomas Bruns; Samuel Armenteros, Brahim Darri (88. Jaroslav Navrátil).