First three pointer of the season in the bag.
FC Utrecht have scored the first three pointer of the season. Three days after the victory against FC Twente in the cup, FC Utrecht were too strong for Sparta Rotterdam in a lively Galgenwaard stadium: 2-0.
The through ball from Rico Strieder was hard, clean and above all smart. Nacer Barazite’s control bordered on genius. Brilliant Barazite, you could say. He received Strieder’s pass and his phenomenal first touch outwitted the defensive duo of by Michel Breuer and Rick van Drongelen. The final obstacle, Sparta Rotterdam’s keeper Roy Kortsmit, was no match for Barazite, who rifled the 2-0 into the net with ten minutes to go. Relief, ecstasy, points. Everyone knew a win was going to come. The three points would remain in Utrecht today.
Zivkovic shoots from the starting blocks
Barazite’s goal might have decided the match but Richairo Zivkovic’s gave the team and the fans a moral boost that couldn’t be beaten. In a sun-drenched Galgenwaard, he forced the ball into the net after just two minutes’ play. Following some useful pressing play by Sébastien Haller, the ball ended up at the lightning-fast striker’s feet and he struck: 1-0.
Despite Utrecht’s excellent start, Sparta came back into the game as the first half progressed. They had more chances and made life difficult for Utrecht but Eric ten Hag’s team were never really in any danger.
Run of play
The run of play changed after the break. Utrecht increased the pressure and made it more and more difficult for Sparta. Chances came and both Haller and Zivkovic were unfortunate not to decide the match before the outcome was put beyond doubt by Barazite’s moment of genius. “The Artist of the Eredivisie” slipped past Breuer and Van Drongelen and slipped the ball into the net. Three pointer!
Sunday: Ajax away
Utrecht are back inaction again on Sunday, when Ten Hag’s men will be the guests in the Amsterdam ArenA. The match against Ajax begins at 12.30.
FC Utrecht - Sparta Rotterdam 2-0 (1-0)
3. Richairo Zivkovic 1-0
80. Nacer Barazite 2-0
Yellow cards: Nacer Barazite, Rico Strieder, Willem Janssen (all FC Utrecht), Kenneth Dougall, Stijn Spierings, Craig Goodwin (all Sparta Rotterdam).
Referee: Kevin Blom.
FC Utrecht line-up:
Robbin Ruiter; Willem Janssen, Ramon Leeuwin, Kevin Conboy; Patrick Joosten (84. Mark van der Maarel), Rico Strieder, Sofyan Amrabat, Yassin Ayoub, Nacer Barazite (89. Andreas Ludwig); Richairo Zivkovic, Sébastien Haller.
Sparta Rotterdam line-up:
Roy Kortsmit; Denzel Dumfries, Bart Vriends (78. Stijn Spierings), Michel Breuer, Rick van Drongelen, Florian Pinteaux (66. Craig Goodwin); Thomas Verhaar, Mart Dijkstra, Ryan Sanusi (46. Kenneth Dougall), Loris Brogno; Zakaria El Azzouzi.