Europa League play-offs: FC Groningen 0-1 FC Twente: Gutierrez goal makes the difference
FC Twente gained the upper hand in the first-leg of their Europa League playoff with FC Groningen with a 1-0 win at the Euroborg.
The game got off to a slow start with both teams taking time to get used to the poor conditions as players were sliding about on the waterlogged pitch.
Once things got going, however, the first-half belonged to Twente. Willem Janssen had the first clear opportunity of the match with a shot which went just wide. Groningen put the ball in the net moments later, but it was correctly disallowed for offside.
Twente enjoyed a few more fruitless attacks before the opening goal came in the 22nd minute. The ball was worked out wide to Dusan Tadic, who whipped it into the box where Felipe Gutierrez did spectacularly well to divert it towards goal with a smooth touch with his back towards goal which put it beyond Marco Bizot.
Gutierrez, who struggled to get into the first-team for a large part of the campaign under Steve McClaren, was a constant source of creativity and inspiration for Twente and he linked up very well with Tadic and Belgian winger Nacer Chadli throughout the first half.
Groningen came close to levelling the score just before the break through defender Virgil van Dijk but his header was saved by Sander Boschker.
Twente looked the better team in the early stages of the second-half and thought they had doubled their lead early on when Luc Castaignos put the ball in the net. But the referee’s whistle ruled out the goal for a tug from the striker on the jersey of right-back Lorenzo Burnet.
From then on, however, Groningen became the dominant force in the match. However, they failed to really threaten the Twente goal and the Tukkers were able to hold onto their one goal lead and will take the advantage through to the second-leg in Enschede on Sunday.