Fortuna shows character and plays draw

27 August 2023
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2023 Excelsior Fortuna Duarte

Fortuna took a point in Rotterdam against Excelsior on Saturday night on character: 2-2. The goals on the Sittard side were scored by Deroy Duarte and Mouhamed Belkheir.

Head coach Danny Buijs had changed his starting eleven in two places compared to the match he won against Almere City. Oguzhan Özyakup and Mitchell Dijks started at Woudestein. The first chance in the match after more than a quarter of an hour of play was for Fortuna. After an attack on the right through Iñigo Córdoba, Ivo Pinto put the ball in front of the goal. Tijjani Noslin wormed his way past three opponents and shot in from a difficult angle. Excelsior goalkeeper Stijn van Gassel had a great reflex and prevented an early deficit for his team.

A few minutes later Córdoba was close to a goal, but a hard shot from the left went wide. The home club waited for the one moment to strike and that came after exactly half an hour of play. After a defensive move by Ivo Pinto, the ball suddenly fell at the feet of striker Nikolas Agrafiotis. With a well-aimed shot from about ten meters out, he left Fortuna goalkeeper Ivor Pandur defenseless: 1-0. In the last fifteen minutes of the first half, Cordoba threatened again and Siebe Horemans tested Pandur's qualities with a shot from distance.

After nine minutes of play, supporters in the once again packed away box cheered when Córdoba showed its attacking qualities. The fast striker snatched the ball from defender Arthur Zagre and appeared free in front of goalkeeper Van Gassel. His effort, however, disappeared into the side netting. After 68 minutes of play Fortuna Sittard got the more than deserved equalizer. The ball was cleared from the penalty area of the home club and came at the feet of the strong playing Deroy Duarte. From about 17 meters, the midfielder produced a clean shot that disappeared into the bottom right corner: 1-1.

Five minutes later, however, Fortuna was already looking at another deficit. A cross from the right side by Derensili Sanches Fernandes was extended with his head by substitute Richie Omorowa, from close range another substitute, Oscar Uddenäs, could not miss: 2-1. Fortuna again showed morale, the fighting spirit was rewarded a few minutes later with the equalizer. A substitute was also important on the Fortuna side, less than half an hour into the game Mouhamed Menaour Belkheir showed his worth. The ball was suddenly at his feet about 25 meters from the goal and the Algerian striker did what nobody thought possible. Instead of looking for a fellow player, he lashed out hard. Van Gassel was nailed to the ground and saw the ball hit the nets: 2-2. A beautiful goal for the debutant. In the closing stages Fortuna went in search of the winning goal. In the very last seconds of extra time, Noslin went close to scoring a goal, but after a cross from Kaj Sierhuis he headed just over the goal.

Line-up: Pandur, Pinto, Guth, Siovas, Dijks (70’ Vita), Rosier, Duarte, Halilovic (88’ Sierhuis), Özyakup (54’ Belkheir), Córdoba (88’ Ferati) en Noslin.