Utrecht loses to Go Ahead Eagles in game not remembered for soccer
On a soccer afternoon when the ball was not the most important thing anyway, FC Utrecht failed to win at home for the third time in a row. The Utrechters lost 2-1 to Go Ahead Eagles in the Galgenwaard, where people dwelled extensively on the 2019 streetcar attack.
The visitors from Deventer stayed sharp for longer than Utrecht on two occasions. After Anastasios Douvikas’ opening goal, Oliver Edvardsen’s 1-1 fell deep in injury time of the first half, the winning 2-1 shot by Willum Thor Willumsson deep in injury time of the second half.
Commemoration streetcar attack
The game in Utrecht was marked by the attack on a Utrecht streetcar in 2019, exactly four years ago. Beforehand, there was a minute of silence in memory of the victims. The aid workers involved were also remembered, receiving a standing ovation in minute eighteen – of March 18 – while the match was briefly halted.
FC Utrecht had made an appeal beforehand to “all those present to show their respect” during the commemoration. And that call was heard. The eighteenth minute, that of applause, was the most impressive of the afternoon. Because for the soccer, the game will not be remembered.
Michael Silberbauer’s Utrecht team has lost its way for weeks. There are injuries and illnesses. Only one of the last six duels, including the embarrassing elimination in the KNVB Cup against the amateurs of Spakenburg, was won. Even against Go Ahead it was not easy.
In a scrappy first half, Greek striker Douvikas wriggled free of his man-marker just before halftime, after Othmane Boussaid had put the ball behind the Deventer defense with a clever pass. A controlled slide from the striker marked his thirteenth goal of the season and made it 1-0.
For very long the home team could not enjoy it. Even before halftime, deep into injury time of the first half, the Eagles came back. Norwegian Edvardsen was just offside and could slide in the 1-1 at the risk of his own knees, because he was just a bit earlier to the ball than Utrecht goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas.
Moments before, Utrecht had already gotten away well, when referee Bos had concluded even after consulting the VAR screen that a clear handball by an Utrecht defender was not a penalty.
Late goal Go Ahead
After halftime, Utrecht tried hard to make it 2-1, but it was never really convincing. Sander van de Streek hit the post via Barkas, but the team came no closer to a win.
Go Ahead Eagles meanwhile continued to look for the winning goal. The visitors could not speak of fatigue. It had been two weeks since the team from Deventer had played its last game (4-1 loss at SC Cambuur), as last Friday’s game with RKC was cancelled just before kickoff due to heavy snowfall.
So that win came after all. Because while Utrecht was looking for the decisive goal, it also gave away a lot of space. Only in the 94th minute did things go wrong. Willumsson got the ball at his feet and shot the fatal 2-1 in the scrimmage.
An important win for Go Ahead, because with thirteen games left to play, the team is now nine points above the relegation line.