Duplan seals UEFA Europa League spot for Utrecht
By Football News
Utrecht sealed the final European spot in the Eredivisie with a 3-2 aggregate victory over Twente in the end-of-season play-offs.
Twente may have won the second leg 2-1 but Edouard Duplan's strike, 18 seconds into the second half, sealed an aggregate victory for Jan Wouters' side.
Long-range strikes from Dusan Tadic and Nacer Chadli brought the scores level by half-time, but a mistake from Felipe Gutierrez after a poor clearance from Sander Boschker allowed Duplan to seal Utrecht's return to European football after three seasons away with a simple finish.
After sealing a first-leg victory, the home side looked in confident mood in the opening half hour of the game.
They dominated possession and created good opportunities but found Boschker in good form as he denied Cedric van der Gun and Tommy Oar with diving saves.
Twente's front three were being kept very quiet and when Chadli was given his first sight of goal he wasted it by firing wide from the edge of the area.
Luckily for the Belgian, Twente cancelled out their hosts' two-goal aggregate lead in the space of two minutes with a pair of fantastic strikes.
The first came when Tadic received the ball on the right hand side from Luc Castaignos and he cut onto his left foot to fire an unstoppable shot past Robbin Ruiter into the top corner.
Moments later Chadli replicated his team-mate's finish with an equally-stunning strike from distance. Leroy Fer rolled a pass to him on the left, he got the ball onto his right foot and shot into the same corner as Tadic with Ruiter again a mere spectator.
With the aggregate scores level at the break, it was all to play for but a terrible error in the opening seconds of the second half gifted Utrecht the lead. Gutierrez failed to control Boschker's poor clearance and the loose ball fell to Duplan who rolled the ball into the empty goal.
Twente battled hard to find an equaliser which would have seen them win on away goals, but Castaignos and Fer both missed great chances. Castaignos wasted a free header from six yards out and Fer failed to get any power into a shot from 12 yards that Ruiter saved easily.