FC Twente 3 (Braafheid 12, Gutierrez 84, Chadli 90)
FC Groningen 2 (Braafheid 23OG, Krim 26)
FC Twente win 4-2 on agg
FC Twente advance to the finals of the Europa League playoffs after two late strikes made them surpass FC Groningen’s fight-back in a 4-2 aggregate victory on Sunday morning.
Edson Braafheid scored a goal at either end, but first scoring for his side with a low drive from the edge of the box to put his team in a comfortable 2-0 position after 12 minutes.
A horribly sliced attempted clearance by Braafheid equalised for the visitors and Slovenian Andreas Kirm took advantage of a terrible goalkeeping error. Twente’s Sander Boschker totally mistiming the rush-out and Kirm nipped in front of the ‘keeper and finishing coolly to put Groningen in the lead.
But goals in the last six minutes put the hosts through. A whipping cross by Swedish defender Rasmus Bengtsson was headed in by Chilean trickster Felipe Gutierrez. On 84 minutes, Gutierrez rose above his fellow Chilean Stefano Magnasco at the back post to head past the helpless Marco Bizot.
The win was cemented with an excellent finisher from the impressive Nacer Chadli. Unchallenged just inside the penalty area, the Belgian curled the ball into the corner to make it 4-2.
FC Utrecht 2 (Toornstra 9, 82)
Heerenveen 1 (Uth 89)
FC Utrecht win 3-1 on agg
FC Utrecht will meet Twente on Thursday evening in the first leg of the final after seeing off Marco van Basten’s Heerenveen 3-1 on aggregate on Sunday afternoon.
A stunning long-range free-kick from midfielder Jens Toornstra opened the scoring after only nine minutes, which meant Van Basten’s eleven had to chase the game.
And chase they did, especially Icelandic hotshot Alfreð Finnbogason going close on many occassions with Utrecht goalkeeper Robin Ruiter holding his goal well. The game was finished off for good with eight minutes to go with Toornstra grabbing his second goal. A surging run down the right by Mark Van der Maarel was hit straight at goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfledt and Toornstra smashed home the rebound.
The Friesen side grabbed a consolation goal from Mark Uth, which initially looked like it has been chalked off after Joey van den Berg had dived in the box before Uth took his shot. The right decision was made by referee and the goal was given.
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