Almere may dream of premier league after three penalty kicks stopped by Bakker
After more than three hours of soccer, one playoff finalist has been announced: Almere City. In the game with VVV-Venlo (1-1), which was temporarily suspended, a winner had to be decided after penalty kicks. In the final Almere will take on FC Emmen, which won against NAC.
The big hero of the evening became Almere goalkeeper Nordin Bakker: he made important saves in the extension and stopped three attempts in the penalty series. One penalty kick went over.
Beforehand, Almere City faced a considerable challenge: in the last ten home encounters with VVV, they never won. Last Thursday’s game also ended 1-1. Much to Almere coach Alex Pastoor’s delight, they stormed right from kickoff this afternoon in a sold-out stadium.
Defender Théo Barbet went close after three minutes. The left winger was allowed to advance deep into VVV’s sixteen-meter area, but met goalkeeper Ennio van der Gouw. In the corner that followed, a sort of shooting gallery arose right in front of the goal. The VVV defense only just managed to clear the ball.
Then the game subsided a bit. A sloppily playing VVV hardly got near the enemy goal, while Almere lacked the purity to really trouble the VVV goalkeeper.
VVV coach Rick Kruijs intervened after halftime and brought on Soulyman Allouch. Despite the momentum, the play remained the same during the first part of the second half. Indeed, after fifty minutes Almere took the lead through Lance Duijvestijn.
A cross from José Pascu on the back line could only just be cleared by Mitchell van Rooijen. The ball landed in the penalty area where Duijvestijn was ready to press. And the striker did just that, into the bottom right corner: 1-0.
The visitors from Venlo then sought to attack and became dangerous several times through substitute Carl Johansson. Shortly after, goalkeeper Van der Gouw prevented the 2-0 for Almere City. A placed header by Hilterman, who was superbly served by Anthony Limbombe, could only just be parried.
Match halted after equalizer
An important save, because in minute sixty Allouch put the equalizer on the scoreboard. He was played on the edge of the sixteen-meter area, dribbled inside and curled the ball in matchless fashion into the top right corner.
After the goal, the match was briefly stopped. From the VVV outbox, while celebrating the goal, a cup was thrown which landed on the pitch.
After the game restarted, Almere City in particular hunted for the winning goal. Without major chances, until the 87th minute: Almere striker Hilterman failed eye to eye with goalkeeper Van der Gouw, who again made an important save.
Almere goalkeeper Bakker hero
No more goals fell, so no winner after ninety minutes. In the extension, Almere City had a field advantage, but VVV had the two biggest chances.
After an error of judgement at the back, substitute Özcan Yaşar headed for the goal alone, but goalkeeper Bakker prevented a goal. Nick Venema’s rebound was cleared off the line by defender Akujobi. Despite some opportunities from Almere, there was no more goal in the extension.
VVV was allowed four penalty kicks and missed them all; Bakker saved three times, one penalty went over. At Almere City the first two attempts went wrong. Duijvestijn and Peña did hit for Almere City.