May 18, 2022 – Heracles Almelo delivered a dramatic performance on Wednesday evening in the fight against relegation from the Eredivisie. On a visit to Excelsior, the team of trainer René Kolmschot lost no less than 3-0. The Heracmen have to clear that considerable backlog in Almelo next Saturday.
Three days ago, Heracles slipped into safe fourteenth place due to the disastrous 1-3 loss against Sparta Rotterdam. A day later – out of blind panic – confidence in head coach Frank Wormuth was withdrawn, after which club legend Kolmschot was put forward to insure the Heracmen for another year in the Eredivisie via the post-competition. Excelsior was in a significantly better flow prior to the match. After all, the Rotterdammers eliminated Roda JC in the first round of the play-offs. In extra time, Marinus Dijkhuizen’s team took a distance and won 0-2 in Kerkrade.
The Almelo defense looked extremely shaky in the first half. Both Reuven Niemeijer and Thijs Dallinga were alone in front of Heracles goalkeeper Koen Bucker within a few minutes, but failed to finish. Even after these dots of chances from the home team, the Eredivisionist was not on his toes. Excelsior played extremely dominantly, with Marouan Azarkan needing two chances to open the score. He pushed in the 1-0 on his second chance after extremely weak action by the Heracmen.
A complete downer for Excelsior was the failure of the goalscorer after Lucas Schoofs’ reckless income. Shortly after the opening goal, the tastemaker left the Rotterdam artificial grass on a stretcher with a head injury. Excelsior was briefly off the leg, with Heracles hitting the bar via the Nikolai Laursen. This was followed by a messy final phase of the first half, in which the Kolmschot team – partly due to the battle – showed cautious signs of recovery.
Heracles Almelo came out better in the second half. However, it handed out no more than a few pinpricks through Samuel Armenteros. Fellow striker Thijs Dallinga struck on the other side. The striker of Excelsior doubled the score after a nice collaboration with Niemeijer. In the final phase, Heracles tried to make the connection goal, but got the lid full. An unfortunate loss of ball led to the 3-0 of substitute Couhaib Driouech.
After three seasons in the Kitchen Champion Division, the team from Rotterdam took a big step through this triumph to reach the final of the play-offs. Only a miracle can save Heracles from relegation. However, as was played today, Saturday’s return only seems to be a formality.
Lineups and ratings*
Excelsior: Stijn van Gassel 7, Redouan El Yaakoubi 6.5, Siebe Horemans 7, Sven Nieuwpoort 6.5, Kenzo Goudmijn 6.5 (72. Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill -), Reuven Niemeijer 7.5 (90. Nikita Vlasenko -), Marouan Azarkan 7 (33. Julian Baas 6), Thijs Dallinga 7 (80. Nikolas Agrafiotis -), Joshua Eijgenraam 6 (46. Michael Chacón 6.5), Nathan Tjoe-A-On 6 (72. Couhaib Driouech -) and Mats Wieffer 8.
Heracles Almelo: Koen Bucker 5, Navajo Port 5 (77. Noah Fadiga -), Sven Sonnenberg 4.5, Justin Hoogma 4.5, Giacomo Quagliata 5.5 (68. Ruben Roosken 5), Luca De La Torre 6, Anas Ouahim 5, Lucas Schoofs 4.5, Nikolai Laursen 5.5 (77. Kasper Lunding -), Samuel Armenteros 5 and Emil Hansson 5 (68. Elias Sierra 5).
Man of the Match: Mats Wieffer
*players must participate for a minimum of 20 minutes to be eligible for a rating.