First Division Club NEC sold its skin expensive in the quarter-final of the KNVB Cup, but the four-time cup finalist ended in the extension against Eredivisieclub VVV-Venlo (1-2). As a result, VVV will compete in the semi-final in Arnhem against Vitesse, who won 4-1 knock in Venlo three weeks ago.
Giorgos Giakoumakis once again proved his great value for VVV-Venlo in the quarterfinal of the KNVB Cup. Not only did the Greek miracle spire in Almelo, where the duel between NEC and the Limburgers was finished, open the score for the Limburgers. But in the extension he also provided the assist on the winning hit of substitute Meritan Shabani (2-1).
His hit in the Erve Asito, to which NEC had emigrated because of the state of the field in Nijmegen after last week‘s snowfall, was the 25th of Giakoumakis as a tourist office. A great production in 23 matches and almost equals the number of goals the Greek made as a professional footballer in his eight previous seasons. For Platanias, Episkopi, AEK Athens, OFI Crete and Gornik Zabrze, Giakoumakis scored 26 goals in 150 matches.
VVV was the stronger team in the first half but failed to press after the opening hit. There were plenty of chances to get out of it dangerously, but it lacked accuracy in the final pass.
In the course of the duel the Nijmegenaren were better in the competition. Under the leadership of routinine Edgar Barreto, who set out the lines from backwards and with the creative attacker Elayis Tavsan as the most dangerous man, NEC was increasingly insistent. It was Rangelo Janga, who signed for the 1-1. The former player of among others Willem II, Excelsior and AA Gent turned well and left VVV-goalkeeper Delano van Crooij without a chance with a shot placed.
Van Crooij joined VVV because Thorsten Kirschbaum was not fit enough to play. The same was true for Venlose centre defender Kristopher Da Graca, who was replaced by routine Arjan Swinkels.
At NEC the suspended routine Rens van Eijden was missing, but in his position Barreto did fine. The now 36-year-old Paraguayaan played in Nijmegen between 2004 and 2007, was then active in Italy for thirteen years, where he played for Reggina, Atalanta Bergamo, Palermo and Sampdoria and returned to NEC last summer. In Nijmegen he is certainly not an undisputed base player, but against VVV he was one of the strongest NEC’ers.
The equalizer of Janga grew the belief in the club from the Kuik Champion Division that just like against Fortuna Sittard could be stunted against a Limburg Eredivisieclub. Fortuna was defeated in the eighth finals after extension with 3-2. Then again, the Eredivisieclub came ahead and it was Janga who signed for the equalizer. In the extension, NEC took the victory by a penalty of Jordy Bruijn and a goal by Thomas Beekman.
NEC also managed to enforce an extension against VVV, although the Eredivisieclub should never have let it go so far. In the final phase, the team of trainer Hans de Koning under the leadership of the very heavily invading January reinforcement Shabani created numerous opportunities, but the visor was not on sharp. The biggest opportunities were missed by Vito van Crooij and Giakoumakis, who showed that it is not always price with him.
In the extension, both teams were better matched, but it was ultimately the surplus to individual quality at VVV that made the decisive factor. Giakoumakis also showed an eye for teammates and played the ball at Shabani and the German youth international, rented by VVV from Wolverhampton Wanderers, awarded his fine debut by surprise NEC goalkeeper Mattijs Branderhorst in the short corner (2-1). NEC was no longer able to surpass that cock, so VVV has pushed through to the last four in the cup tournament for the third time in history. In 1958/1959 the Limburgers were to win the tournament, in the 1987/1988 season the semi-final was the final station.