Groningen closer to relegation after loss against Utrecht, duel with many injuries
With a fifth defeat in a row, FC Groningen is heading hard for relegation from the premier league. Friday night they lost 2-1 at home to FC Utrecht.
For Utrecht it was the first win since the end of February. Despite five games without a win, the team is still on course for participation in the playoffs for European soccer.
Still, the atmosphere in the Utrecht player bus during the return trip will not be too upbeat. No less than three players were injured, with Ramon Hendriks’ injury looking especially serious.
Four injuries before halftime
For a long time the first half produced no special moments in front of the goals. It was mainly the club doctors who had a busy evening. For Utrecht, Othman Boussaid, Hendriks and Taylor Booth dropped out, for Groningen Jetro Willems had to be substituted.
Hendriks’ injury in particular looked serious. The youth international of Oranje already tore his cruciate ligament in June last year and only made his return last month. A Groningen player fell on his leg and Hendriks appeared to twist his knee. In tears, the 21-year-old defender left the field.
Because of all the injuries, ten minutes of extra time was added and in it both teams scored. First it was Anastasios Douvikas who shot the ball behind Groningen goalkeeper Michael Verrips. As a result, the Greek is again sole top scorer of the Eredivisie with fourteen goals. PSV’s Xavi Simons is on thirteen.
In the tenth minute of injury time it became 1-1. A shot by Finn Oliver Antman was changed direction by a Utrecht defender, leaving Utrecht goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas defenseless.
After halftime Utrecht had the better chances, including Bart Ramselaar hitting the post with a fine shot. The winning goal came fifteen minutes before time. A free kick by Jens Toornstra was put in front of the goal by Mike van der Hoorn, where Bas Dost had all the space he needed to tap in.