Sunday, May 17, 2009

SC Heerenveen wins KNVB Beker defeating Twente

Led by Trond Sollied in his debut season in-charge, de Friezen have claimed the KNVB Beker as they defeated Twente in hard fought battle that came down the penalties. The victory caps a remarkable season for the well traveled Norwegian manager, who left Belgian side Gent after Gertjan Verbeek moved on to Feyenoord and despite for many calls for his job prior to the holiday season, emerged with his side celebrating a historic win.

Looking more like an emergency ward that a pitch, Twente lost both Marko Arnautović and Peter Wisgerhof within the first quarter hour. Four minutes before the half hour a free kick was awarded far right of the box and with Christian Grindheim's resulting effort came through the box that Macedonia Goran Popov volleyed in from close-range. The tightly played match continued without further incident until nine minutes after the restart when a long diagonal ball was poorly played by Heerenveen keeper Hans Vonk and Kristian Bak Nielsen with Blaise Nkufo out-racing them to the byline. The Swiss international quickly gathered the ball and supplied the ball to Eljero Elia to his left, who then moved into box beating Michel Breuer before sending over Vonk to the back of the net. Both sides had ample effort to go ahead in regulation time but somehow the match went to added-time. With eight minutes remaining, Bonaventure Kalou sent a simple effort from the edge of the area that took a hefty deflection off Douglas and past Sander Boschker into the net. With Heerenveen closing in the victory a long cross from the left was headed in by Youssouf Hersi from six metres out to square the match again. Seconds ticked down with Twente pouring on the pressure with a late effort pushed off the line sending the match to penalties. After Theo Janssen, Viktor Elm, Blaise Kufo and Michael Dingsdag canceled out each others successful effort, Youssouf Hersi sent his drive over the bar giving Heerenveen the advantage. Michel Breuer and Bonaventure Kalou efforts were equally matched by Twente, setting the stage for Gerald Sibon.

Thirty five years of age, with the hopes of dreams riding on his effort, he did not disappoint as Heerenveen can now claim the KNVB Beker.