Vitesse concluded his Europa League campaign on Thursday evening with a home victory against OGC Nice. Henk Fraser’s team sold its skin expensive in a packed GelreDome and still pulled the duel in the final stage thanks to a goal of Luc Castaignos: 1-0. Vitesse won his first victory in the Europa League and concludes the European season with five points.
For both Vitesse and Nice, nothing was actually at stake anymore, and that was reflected in the competition form. Both teams performed without a large number of supporting players: Fraser held Milot Rashica and Bryan Linssen outside his base, while among the visitors, Mario Balotelli was left behind in France. Vitesse lost this tournament on his own pitch earlier from Lazio and Zulte-Waregem and hoped to give his supporters in the last group competition a victory after all.
In any case, Fraser’s team started the game very well. After only five minutes, Guram Kashia appeared dangerous to the visitors’ target, but his header ball was pinned up close by Yoan Cardinal. Nice then got a little more grip on the match. Jean-Victor Makengo forced Remko Pasveer to save him, while Julian Lelieveld’s offense on Racine Coly in the Eredivisionist’s penalty area was not punished by the arbitration. After a strong start, Vitesse was no longer involved, but in the final minute of the first half of the year, Vitesse still had an excellent opportunity to open the score. However, Luc Castaignos shot close by wildly on Cardinal.
After the interruption, Navarone Foor was brought into line by Fraser as a replacement for the injured Charlie Colkett. The substitute immediately made a dangerous attempt at distance, but had the misfortune that Cardinal was in the right place to save. A little later the goalkeeper took a shot of Mason Mount from the bottom corner. Vitesse pulled the initiative at rest brutally towards himself, but had to remain cautious about the failure of Nice. At around the hour, Pasveer was put to work twice by Alassane Pléa, who changed shortly afterwards in favour of the only sixteen-year-old Mohamed Lamine Diaby.
Fraser had set his sights on a victory and switched there too: Rashica was brought within the lines twenty minutes before time and he was worth five minutes gold for Vitesse. The outside right-hand side steamed over the right-hand side of the field, after which he brought the ball in front. Cardinal didn’t get the ball under control, after which Castaignos Vitesse still won the game with a close-up thicker.