New captain Van Gassel helps Excelsior get point against FC Twente
Watch the summary of Excelsior – FC Twente
Excelsior took an important and unexpected point in the fight against relegation. At Woudestein, the Rotterdammers held their ground against FC Twente, which time and again came up against goalkeeper Stijn van Gassel: 0-0.
Van Gassel wore the captain’s armband for the first time. The goalkeeper replaced Redouan El Yaakoubi, who was no longer allowed to be captain because he refused to wear the special OneLove band. El Yaakoubi, however, was in the starting lineup as usual.
The new captain distinguished himself in the first half hour with a couple of fine saves against the much stronger FC Twente, although Michel Vlap certainly should have left Van Gassel chanceless on his second big chance.
The miss was typical of Vlap’s season, who has yet to score in the premier league. It also made the loss of Manfred Ugalde palpable. With five goals in the previous three games, Ugalde had been coach Ron Jans’ golden ticket, but the Costa Rican was unavailable due to injury.
Afterwards, Vlap said that he is extremely fed up with not scoring this season:
Goalless Vlap doesn’t understand: ‘I do everything I can’
After the one-sided opening phase, Twente’s play became more sloppy and Excelsior got better and better into the match. Also in the second half Excelsior was much better in the match. Where a goal for Twente had seemed a matter of time, it could suddenly go either way.
Van Gassel almost saw his strong match ruined when he made a nasty mistake on a free kick from Ramiz Zerrouki. The ball went under him and almost rolled over the goal line, but the goalkeeper was just able to prevent it.
With just over 15 minutes to go – at sunset – the match was briefly paused to give players participating in Ramadan a chance to eat and drink something.
Not much later, Van Gassel prevented another goal by stopping a header by Ricky van Wolfswinkel, while on the other side of the pitch Twente goalkeeper Lars Unnerstal prevented Noah Naujoks from scoring from close range.
In the closing stages Twente went on the hunt for a goal and three points, but despite a few frantic moments in front of his goal, Van Gassel kept the “zero”.