Sparta almost next to FC Twente after win in Rotterdam derby at Excelsior
Watch the summary of Excelsior-Sparta Rotterdam
Sparta won the Rotterdam derby at Excelsior 4-1 and has edged FC Twente, the number five in the Eredivisie who had stalled at 3-3 against sc Heerenveen on Saturday night, to one point.
The situation for Excelsior, which this season relies mainly on its home games (five of its six victories came at Woudestein), is becoming dire, although Rotterdam’s third club (after Sparta and Feyenoord) still has three teams below them.
Excelsior started the game knowing that only one point had been picked up from the last six games and fourteen goals in a row had to be conceded without a goal of their own. Number fifteen seemed to be in the making after just one minute, but Tobias Lauritsen headed straight at goalkeeper Stijn van Gassel.
7.5 hours without a goal
Shortly after that windfall for Excelsior, a big disappointment followed: after only seven minutes, Marouan Azarkan, along with captain Redouan El Yaakoubi, the team’s top scorer with three goals returned from a suspension, hobbled off with an injury. It didn’t stop with that malady. In the 20th minute, El Yaakoubi slid a cross from Lauritsen into his own goal: 0-1.
Lazaros Lamprou had an excellent chance to finally give Excelsior another goal after almost 7.5 hours of premier league soccer after a smothered shot, but he popped wide from close range in front of the Sparta goal. A header by El Yaakoubi and a shot by Kenzo Goudmijn were cleverly parried by Nick Olij, who has kept the Sparta goal clean for ten games this season.
On the stroke of half-time the now deserved equalizer came: Couhaib Driouech, Azarkan’s replacement, got the ball at his feet via a Spartan leg and tapped it under the incoming Olij. Nikolas Agrafiotis failed to add to the final offensive before tea, sliding in the 2-1.
Tap on the nose
Excelsior hoped to continue the good line in the second half, but soon got a tap on the nose. After a header from Olij and a pass from Arno Verschueren, the ball went to Koki Saito, who surprised Stijn van Gassel with a narrow pass: 1-2.
Moments later, the goalkeeper prevented Verschuren’s 1-3 with a clever save, but it came through Lauritsen’s header from the connecting corner kick after all.
Even before an hour had passed, the decision fell. Again from a corner kick, but this time it was captain Bart Vriends who beat the missing Van Gassel with his head: 1-4. Sparta thought it was best after that and spared the city rivals a bigger defeat.
Dijkhuizen sad of 1-2, Vriends sees derby victory as a crown