Fortuna matches NEC in season finale
Through a penalty kick scored by Paul Gladon, Fortuna equalized with NEC Nijmegen Sunday afternoon well into extra time. From eleven meters, the long center striker remained cold-blooded and put the 1-1 final score on the scoreboard. For Gladon his seventh goal of the season.
The two teams also met last season on the last matchday, then in Nijmegen. The stakes of that match were much higher. NEC could still clinch a place in the playoffs for European soccer, Fortuna had to win that game to be sure of direct enforcement. The outcome is well known. Sunday afternoon the stakes were much lower, yet over 10,000 people had found their way to the stadium. They saw that the home club had to miss a large number of players due to injury, this week Deroy Duarte was also added to the list of absentees. George Cox had to miss his 'farewell match' due to a suspension.
Fortuna started the match well and immediately tried to put the guests under pressure. In the opening stages Gladon was unlucky, a shot from outside the penalty area landed on the post. Gradually in the first half the guests got better into their game, after twenty minutes of play goalkeeper Ivor Pandar and Ivo Pinto prevented a goal by Magnus Mattsson with a combined effort. The game went back and forth at a fast pace, but there were no real chances for either team in the first half.
That changed after halftime, when the guests, led by captain Oussama Tannane, took the initiative in the match. Goalkeeper Pandur had to work hard when Pedro Marques and Anthony Musaba, among others, struck. Tannane himself also tested the qualities of the Fortuna goalkeeper with two shots from distance. Twenty minutes into the second half, the guests took the lead. Referee Pol van Boekel initially awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, after a foul on Mattsson. The VAR intervened and had found that the foul was made inside the penalty area. Substitute Landry Dimata scored in a controlled manner from the penalty spot: 0-1.
With some substitutions Fortuna tried to get a better grip on the game, but that did not work, the team from Nijmegen remained the dominant player. In the final phase, VAR played a leading role, twice the decision was in Fortuna's favor. A few minutes before the end of official playing time, the guests were again awarded a penalty kick, this time after an alleged foul on Elayis Tavsan. VAR called the referee to the screen again, the decision was reversed. Well into injury time another VAR moment, this time in the guests' penalty area. After a foul on Dimitrios Siovas, the ball landed on the penalty spot, after which Gladon treated the Fortuna fans to a late equalizer: 1-1.
Line-up: Pandur, Pinto, Guth, Siovas, Vita, Erdogan, Ferati (69’ Ferati), Córdoba, Noslin, Gladon, Embalo (69’ Tasci)