NEC to first cup final since 2000 thanks to Japanese goals against Cambuur | Football

Feb 27, 2024 at 10:36 PM Update: 2 hours ago

NEC qualified for the KNVB Cup final for the fifth time in club history on Tuesday. The team of coach Rogier Meijer settled the score with Cambuur in extra time: 1-2. Both Nijmegen goals were Japanese-made.

NEC was favorite in the semi-final against Cambuur. The people of Nijmegen are seventh in the Eredivisie, while the Frisians are in the middle of the Kitchen Champion Division. The difference in power was visible, although Cambuur kept it exciting for a long time.

The Frisians even took the lead in the first half thanks to a striking header from Roberts Uldrikis. After the break, NEC converted the dominance into Koki Ogawa’s equalizer. The score remained at 1-1, meaning extra time had to be played. In the 99th minute, Kodai Sano scored the 1-2.

For example, two Japanese goals helped NEC to their first cup final since 2000, when the Nijmegen team lost to Roda JC. NEC also lost in the cup final in 1973, 1983 and 1994. A possible cup win would be the absolute highlight in the club’s history.

On Thursday, Feyenoord and FC Groningen will decide who will be NEC’s opponent in the final. The match in De Kuip starts at 8 p.m. The cup final is scheduled for Sunday, April 21.

The Frisian fireworks industry did excellent business on Tuesday. Photo: ANP

Minutes of fireworks and Nijmegen dominance

Cambuur-NEC started with fireworks. Literal. It crackled and exploded in the air above Leeuwarden for several minutes. Just when the players started to look at each other questioningly, the decorative pots and flares stopped their roar and the focus could be on the football.

NEC was clearly better and hit the post and the crossbar, but Cambuur appeared first on the scoreboard. Uldrikis headed the ball against the ropes from close range. Afterwards, the people of Nijmegen continued to bombard the Frisian target. Cambuur keeper Yanick van Osch ensured that the teams went to the changing rooms with a 1-0 score.

Even after the break it was a lot of one-way traffic. NEC got rewarded for their work when Ogawa shot the ball into the top corner from a corner: 1-1. Cambuur appeared in front of Jasper Cillessen’s goal shortly before the final whistle, but the NEC keeper made a nice save on Milan Smit’s header.

In the first half of extra time, Sano shot the 1-2 into the corner. It remained in Leeuwarden. Cambuur could have become the first cup finalist from the First Division since 1994 (then NEC). FC Groningen can still succeed if the northerners perform against Feyenoord on Thursday.

Image: ANP

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2024-02-27 21:36:50
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