Almere City holds VVV to a draw with ten men in fight for promotion

Almere City holds VVV to a draw with ten men in fight for promotion
Joy among the players of Almere City

NOS Soccer

Almere City may still dream of the premier league and VVV of a return to the highest level. Indeed, the first game in the semi-finals of the playoffs, in which Almere had to make do with ten men for the last twenty minutes, ended in a 1-1 draw.

The winner of the duel, which will be decided Saturday in Almere, will face either NAC Breda or FC Emmen in the final of the playoffs for promotion/degradation. Those clubs meet for the first time Wednesday night. The final is also over two duels, to be played on June 6 and 11.

Attacking VVV

VVV, which was relegated from the premier league two seasons ago, started the match against Almere, which had never played in the premier league before. The home team took a deserved lead after only seven minutes.

Mitchell van Rooijen lashed out and saw his effort fly into the goal via an opponent’s leg and the underside of the crossbar. Goalkeeper Nordin Bakker was rendered hopeless by the change in direction of the ball.

Mitchell van Rooijen (right) took VVV Venlo into the lead

His fellow goalkeeper on the other side of the pitch, Ennio van der Gouw, also knew what that felt like more than twenty minutes later. He was caught off guard, as Van Rooijen touched an Anthony Limbombe effort on the move, and saw the ball land beautifully in the goal.

It was in the remainder of the first half that VVV came closest to a second goal. After a smooth-looking attack, captain Sven Braken crossed the ball, hoping that the incoming Nick Venema could put his foot to it. Venema, however, was several centimeters short of tapping in.

Red for Post against old club

The second half began for Almere coach Alex Pastoor with a setback. Manel Royo had to leave the field injured and was replaced for Danny Post, who wore the VVV shirt for nine years and made 255 appearances for the club from Venlo.

A heroic performance against his old club, however, was not for Post. He was sent off with a red card after 70 minutes, after he brought down Simon Janssen with a stretched leg.

“Downright bad,” Pastoor said afterwards about that decision. “I think we were seriously disadvantaged. The red card was very excessive. Two players sliding into each other, making contact. That boy could go on after ten seconds.”

For the remaining minutes, Almere focused mainly on defending and it did so successfully, as VVV did not get back into scoring position against ten men.

“Almere collapsed and we were desperate to play forward. But we are strong in away games, so this is just a good result for us,” VVV coach Rick Kruys looked ahead to next weekend’s return game.

Kayleigh Williams