PEC Zwolle returns to premier league after year away

PEC Zwolle returns to premier league after year away
Joy among the players of PEC Zwolle

NOS Football

PEC Zwolle will return to the premier league next season. The Zwolle players secured the long-awaited promotion with a draw at Almere City. The topper between the frontrunner and the number three of the Keuken Kampioen Divisie ended 1-1.

In recent weeks Zwolle had been close to promotion several times, but could not yet uncork the champagne. Now it finally happened and PEC Zwolle returned to the premier league after one season in the first division.

The draw did mean points loss in the title battle with Heracles Almelo, which won at Helmond Sport and reduced the deficit on PEC to three points with four games to go.

The Zwollenaren will still have to work hard in the coming weeks to win the title, but first the promotion will be properly celebrated.

“It’s very important. The club is close to my heart, so I’m very happy,” PEC captain Bram van Polen told glowers. “It was a mediocre match, sloppy on both sides. The result is the most important thing, that’s a cliché, but it’s true.”

Watch reactions from captain Van Polen, coach Dick Schreuder and Thomas van den Belt below:

Both teams certainly did not play their best soccer, also because the field was difficult to play due to the increasingly hard rain.

The biggest chance of the first half was for Almere, but Álvaro Pena shot free in front of goal straight into the hands of PEC goalkeeper Jasper Schendelaar.

Zwolle’s best chance was for Dean Huiberts. His shot towards the far corner disappeared wide of the goal via a defender’s leg.

In the 39th minute referee Jochem Kamphuis brought the teams inside because it began to thunder in Almere. After about twenty minutes the match was resumed.

In Almere, players head to the locker room

The rain stayed away after that, the sloppy soccer remained. Zwolle was stronger for a long time, without creating much danger. With a header, Lennart Thy was close to a goal, but Almere goalkeeper Nordin Bakker was alert.

The evening seemed to end in a disappointment for PEC when Stije Resink scored in the 71st minute with his head from a free kick by Jorrit Smeets.

The goal brought the match to life. The pace picked up and four minutes later it was tied again. A header by Thomas van den Belt – already good for 16 goals this season – put Zwolle back on promotion course.

In the very last seconds of injury time things almost went wrong for Zwolle, but goalkeeper Schendelaar prevented with a great save that the party had to be postponed again.

Kayleigh Williams