Fortuna wins again on foreign soil
Who can remember two years of not winning any away games? Meanwhile, the club has taken seventeen points away from home; only AZ, Ajax, Feyenoord and FC Utrecht did better.
The latter is where head coach Julio Velazquez's team visited on Friday night. Fortuna won the away match in Utrecht 1-2. In the last twenty minutes Fortuna turned a 1-0 deficit around through goals by Kristijan Bistrović and substitute Tijjani Noslin. The win in the Galgenwaard was already the fifth win in an away game this season.
The Sittard formation saw several players return to the starting lineup after injury. Both wingbacks, George Cox and Ivo Pinto, were available again, and midfielder Bistrović and striker Iñigo Córdoba were also able to start. Thomas Buitink made his first appearance since his transfer and was preferred to Úmaro Embaló.
FC Utrecht surprisingly went down with clear figures against Spakenburg last Tuesday. Many soccer followers expected a fanatical home team that put Fortuna under pressure from the first minute. However, that turned out not to be the case, the home club waited and allowed Fortuna the ball. Neither team took much risk in their play, so the first half offered little spectacle. Significantly, on the Utrecht side, two defenders provided most of the danger. Mark van der Maarel aimed high over from close range, Sean Klaiber tested the qualities of Fortuna goalkeeper Ivor Pandur with a diagonal shot. Pandur saved beautifully.
Fortuna twice in the first half came close to Utrecht goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas, who had to intervene with a shot by Córdoba. In the extra time of the first half Rodrigo Guth served the cleverly runaway Buitink with a fine long ball, but Barkas quickly got out of his goal to prevent his team from falling behind.
After half time FC Utrecht got more possession of the ball and tried to force something. That succeeded after almost an hour of play, a corner kick by Jens Toornstra was headed in hard by captain Mike van der Hoorn. Pandur saved at first, but the rebound was a prey for Tasos Douvikas who shot from close range: 1-0. After 65 minutes Fortuna made their first substitution, bringing on Noslin. A few minutes later, the speedy outfielder had his share of the equalizer. After a cross from the left side of Córdoba, Noslin caused unrest in the Utrecht defense, and via a player of the home club the ball was suddenly at the feet of Bistrović. Free in front of goalkeeper Barkas, the Croatian stayed calm: 1-1.
Fortuna felt there was more to come against the beaten home team, and three minutes before the end of official playing time the second goal came on the board. Burak took advantage of ball loss in the home team's midfield and played the ball through to Noslin. Noslin accelerated and took a hard shot into the short corner: 1-2. The home team tried to push on, but did not create any major chances.
Line-up: Pandur, Pinto, Guth, Siovas, Cox (90' Radic), Córdoba, Bistrovic, Özyakup (90' Ferati), Duarte (79' Vita), Buitink (65' Noslin), Burak.