FC Groningen sees relegation approaching after loss at Fortuna
Watch the summary of Fortuna Sittard – FC Groningen
Thoughts went back to Sunday, November 13 last year. Under previous coach Frank Wormuth, FC Groningen lost 3-2 to Fortuna Sittard at home despite a large field advantage.
Groningen can now only dream of the safe fifteenth place. The northerners went down 3-1 at Fortuna on Sunday, where closest rivals FC Emmen (2-1 win at SC Cambuur) and Excelsior (0-0 against FC Twente) took points. Seventeenth is Groningen, seven points behind number sixteen.
Full of good spirits, Groningen started the first of eight ‘finals’ in the battle for survival in the premier league after the international break. Good news came from the sickbay, as it was virtually empty. Only Paulos Abraham is not yet fit. So it is a matter of making choices for coach Dennis van der Ree.
Córdoba puts effective Fortuna ahead early
The eleven chosen ones soon failed in Sittard. After ball loss by Ragnar Oratmangoen, Fortuna took advantage. Via Burak Yilmaz and Tijjani Noslin, the ball reached Iñigo Córdoba, who found the far corner with the inside left. It was the ideal start for Fortuna, which was then able to sit back and relax.
Groningen had to make the game and had the ball a lot, but created disappointingly little. Elvis Manu went close once in an offside position, but Fortuna goalkeeper Ivor Pandur saved. A few minutes before halftime Manu did score, but again he was offside and the goal was disallowed.
Watch reactions from FC Groningen coach Dennis van der Ree, goalkeeper Michael Verrips and Fortuna Sittard coach Julio Velázquez below.
FC Groningen coach Van der Ree remains hopeful: ‘It’s not done yet’
At the other end, Fortuna proved effective once again. Goalkeeper Michael Verrips had an answer to Noslin’s shot, but in the rebound Córdoba was successful. The Spaniard was more alert than his keeper Thijmen Blokzijl and put Fortuna up 2-0 with his second goal.
Connecting goal Pepi
In the second half, it took Groningen some time to get back into the game. Only with some substitutes did the visitors get inspiration and several chances. Liam van Gelderen and Blokzijl missed and Isak Määttä hit the post. In the 78th minute, Ricardo Pepi shot and hope was back with the Groningers.
Groningen did not get any closer. Coach Van der Ree watched the final minutes shaking his head and saw former Groningen player and substitute Paul Gladon heading in the 3-1 in injury time. The seventeenth defeat of the season for FC Groningen was a fact.
The long 316-kilometer return trip to the north awaited with the knowledge that maintenance in the premier league after a turbulent season is becoming increasingly difficult. New coach Dick Lukkien threatens to start FC Groningen in the first division, in which the club was last active in 2000.