Sparta brings relegation worries back to Emmen with two technical highlights
Watch the summary of FC Emmen – Sparta Rotterdam
What FC Emmen did manage against Excelsior, proved more difficult against those other Rotterdammers. At their own Oude Meerdijk, Emmen lost 2-0 to Sparta.
That defeat is alarming. Dick Lukkien’s team had just bravely played their way out of the relegation zone in recent weeks, including a win over direct rival Excelsior last week. But the other team from Rotterdam proved to be of a different caliber a week later.
Sparta not great
Sparta didn’t even have to play big for the three points. It had enough with two inspirations. Koki Saito’s action at 1-0 was too powerful for the Emmen defense. Just before halftime, the 21-year-old Japanese slipped between Jari Vlak and Mohamed Bouchouari with a quick foot movement, cut to his right and curled the ball into the far corner.
Just before time, it appeared that Vito van Crooij had been watching Saito closely. With a similar action, in which he defiantly stroked the top of the ball several times with the bottom of his foot, he was suddenly past Julius Dirksen. One on one with goalkeeper Mickey van der Hart, he remained extremely cool (0-2).
It was the nineteenth time this season that Van Crooij was involved in a goal; nine times as a finisher, ten times as a finisher.
Dreaming of Europe
Thanks in part to the decisive striker, Sparta may dream of European soccer. The win puts Maurice Steijn’s team in fifth place in the Eredivisie for at least one night. Sunday FC Twente can go over it again.
Watch reactions from Vito van Crooij, Dick Lukkien and Maurice Steijn:
Van Crooij enjoys at Sparta: ‘This is a great season for us’
For Sparta it is the third win in a row, such a series the Rotterdammers did not set earlier this season. In two weeks, after the international break, the team will visit city rival and frontrunner Feyenoord.
FC Emmen have two weeks to prepare for another crucial game in the fight against relegation, as they must visit bottom-placed SC Cambuur on April 1.