Utrecht rescue a point in six goal thriller as Cambuur’s worries continue
Winless after six games and with an incredible 20 goals conceded heading into Saturday’s meeting with FC Utrecht, Cambuur are in a tough position this season already. Henk de Jong said on Friday that he remains confident of getting out of their early season worries, but the coach will be devastated that the Leeuwarden side did not action his insistence immediately, as they twice surrendered a lead to draw 3-3 with Erik ten Hag’s side.
Utrecht would have been forgiven for thinking that they were in for a fairly routine win on Saturday, but De Jong’s team showed just why the club and fans have remained confident of recovering from an abysmal start throughout the 90 minutes in the Galgenwaard.
The home side may have come out of the game with a point in the end, but they were forced to scrap for it as they were trailing 3-1 with 20 minutes remaining.
The definitive moment came in the 83rd minute when Kristoffer Peterson was through on goal, only to be chopped down by goalkeeper Harm Zeinstra, who was then dismissed, allowing Willem Janssen to tie it up from the spot.
Many will point to the red card and penalty as the moment which spoiled the occasion for Cambuur, but there was a sense that a goal was coming from Utrecht by that time as they had turned their performance around, having initially struggled to threaten their opponents.
The home team have been one of the league’s most interesting to watch this term and the tactical set up and calculated way they attack has proved effective for the most part, but it took them a long time to get going this time.
Utrecht’s very deep midfield and three advanced attackers against Cambuur’s high back line meant space between the defence and attack was hard to come by. The home side were obviously missing Yassine Ayoub to help link those areas up.
There were too many wayward passes in the build-up in Utrecht’s game. Cambuur did well to contain Ten Hag’s team, but they were making it easy for them.
It was the away side who made the breakthrough, as a neat combination down the right saw Louis Nganioni beaten and Bartholomew Ogbeche was able to head in at the back post from a Marlon Pereira cross. Cambuur themselves had not had too much joy, but had been more active and daring in their attacks and had the goal to show for it.
Utrecht looked sharper in the second half, with better movement up the field and it took just eight minutes for the equaliser to come, with Willem Janssen being played through on goal and finishing delicately.
The absence of the suspended Sebastien Haller was sorely felt too, but with Nacer Barazite’s movement, neat control and passing, they began to find more space as the game wore on.
But just as Utrecht’s performance began to pick up, Ogbeche slammed a dagger into the hearts of the home fans, slotting in the second.
Some poor defending allowed Cambuur to net a third, as no Utrecht players picked up Sander van der Streek in the box, allowing him to smash it in after a cool cut back from Furdjel Narsingh.
Just three minutes later, Barazite lessened the deficit for Utrecht. He showed his class when Klaiber’s pass found its way to him in the box and the forward took a nice touch before burying it into the bottom corner.
Barazite’s career is back on track now. He had a rough start to life at Utrecht when he joined last summer due to a lack of fitness, but now he is pivotal and exciting player with a lot of intelligence to his play and Ten Hag is getting the best out of him with the support this system offers.
Cambuur became ultra-defensive and deep after that and Utrecht pushed up further and it is here that the patience and intelligence of their attack began to show. They constantly try to work the ball into the centre of the box in order to fire shots from more dangerous areas. It is a very clear cut and effective plan which has proved effective so far this season.
That style opened up a wonderful chance for Peterson as he went through on goal, it looked like he was destined to tie it up, but the job was made easy as he went down and Zeinstra was sent off, though Cambuur had many complaints about it.
Utrecht pushed on afterwards and Barazite should have secured the win in injury time when he was found in the box with an excellent pass but substitute keeper Leonard Nienhuis was able to block the attempt.
Cambuur have picked up three points now having drawn their last two games, while Utrecht have only been beaten twice and now sit 10th in the league. The Leeuwarden team will be growing ever more anxious with every game without a win and they have some tough fixtures coming up. For Erik ten Hag and his team, though, the future remains bright.