Dutch Eredivisie Qualification Playoff: Almere City to face Emmen FC in historic final

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Almere City recorded another famous victory over VVV Venlo before their fans on Saturday afternoon to zoom to the final of the Dutch Eredivisie qualification.

Almere City who had suffered two losses to Venlo during the regular season got a morale-boosting 1-1 draw away on Tuesday and needed a home win of any result in the return leg to advance to the final.

The second leg also ended in a draw. Lance Duijvestijn put the home team in the lead through his strike in the 51st minute but Venlo evened the scores in the 63rd minute through Soulyman Allouch.

Hamdi Akujobi produced a brilliant performance to stop double goal-bound shots on the goal line even after their goalkeeper, Nordin Bakker was beaten.

The 23-year-old will however miss the first leg of the playoff final after he received his second consecutive booking in both legs. He was yellow carded in the 55th minute in the home game.

There was no further goals to decide the fixture and so the game proceeded to penalty shootout.

Substitutes Rajiv van La Parra and Ilias Alhaft both missed their spot kicks but Lance Duijvestijn and Alvaro Pena successfully converted theirs. Bakker, Almere City made himself the hero of the game. He didn’t allow any of Venlo’s spot kicks to go past him.

Nick Venema and Soulyman Allouch who came on for Venlo in the second half both missed their penalty kicks. Brian Koglin and Kees de Boer also failed to hit target for Venlo.

Almere City thus progressed to the final 2-0 on penalties after both teams have ended the two legs 2-2 apiece.

Almere City would face Emmen FC in the final after the club thrashed NAC Breda 4-1 on aggregate over the course of two legs. Emmen had beaten NAC Breda 2-1 in Breda on Tuesday and they made it a double win at home on Saturday night.

Goals from Richairo Zivkovic and Jasin Assenhoun in the 62nd and 94th minutes made it a comfortable 2-0 win at Emmen.

The first leg of the Eredivisie qualification final comes up on Tuesday in Almere against Emmen FC but Akujobi is ineligible for the game as he serves his one game suspension. He will be available for the return leg of the final at Emmen on Sunday. The Winner of aggregate will book the remaining ticket to the Eredivisie for the 2023-24 season.

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