Netherlands: Why the Vitesse-Sparta match will only last six minutes tonight

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A month and a half after the Eredivisie meeting between Vitesse Arnhem and Sparta Rotterdam was interrupted for a projectile throw that struck goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, the match will be able to resume this Tuesday… for six short minutes. Both teams would play extra time with very specific rules that were to be played then.

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“Six minutes at full throttle”. On his Twitter account, Vitesse Arnhem announced the color for the weirdest match of the year. This Tuesday, at 6.45 pm, the final six minutes of the match between Arnhem and Sparta Rotterdam will take place behind closed doors. Speed ​​took 1 goal to 0, so it would be a small part of the match for Sparta to cross the defense and grab the point of the draw.

You have to go back to March 4 to understand why this meeting will last only six minutes. On that day, Sparta achieved a minor feat at the Gelredom Stadium in Arnhem and led to Vitesse’s lawn thanks to a goal from Adrian Dalmau. As the match enters extra time, a Vitesse supporter enters the pitch and shouts Maduka Okoye, the Sparta goalkeeper.

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“It’s almost a different game”

It is then hit by a projectile from the stand. Both teams are sent back to the locker room and the players of the Rotterdam club refuse to resume the meeting. The game is interrupted. But unlike the rules of the Dutch Championship, which stipulate that a match must be replayed outright and the score reset, the Dutch Football Federation decides to play these last six minutes.

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“It’s crazy, but there’s something interesting about it. It’s almost a different game. Six minutes of trying not to concede a goal,” explained Bart Wirends by telegraph, The Sparta Rotterdam defender knows these six minutes will be decisive in the season for the club, which is ranked last in the standings and, if successful, could reach 16th place in the play-offs.

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Maduka Okoye, on the field after being hit by a projectile during the match between Vitesse Arnhem and Sparta Rotterdam, March 4
Maduka Okoye, after being hit by a projectile during the match between Vitesse Arnhem and Sparta Rotterdam, March 4 © ANP / Icon Sport

For these six minutes of play, both teams have to respect very specific rules: the same teams will be aligned – the injured have been authorized to replace – those suspended on March 4 are still suspended on Tuesday, The coach will be able to make changes so that the day of the meeting remains for them, and it is Sparta’s goalkeeper Okoye who will kick.

Vitesse will push Arnhem

Only small change: referee Bass Niejuice replaces his colleague Rob Dieperink on the whistle. “It’s a really crazy situation. It will be difficult but we really want to make the most of this particular situation”, explained Vitesse Arnhem coach Thomas Letts on the club’s website.

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6th in the standings, Vitesse is almost guaranteed to participate in the play-offs which will be played at the end of the Eredivisie season to determine the identity of the fourth Dutch team to qualify for the European Cup. But there is no doubt that Letsch’s players will want to go for a draw which will surely be the shortest and most intense match of their career.

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