Promotion is further out of sight for FC Den Haag after a dramatic second half against Almere City. Attack leader Thomas Verheydt and captain Boy Kemper acknowledge that it will be a hell of a job to reach the play-offs after the 2-3 defeat, but do not give up completely. “Something crept into the team after they made it 2-1,” says Kemper.
After fifteen minutes of play in The Hague, there seemed to be no problem for the home team. Via Thomas Verheydt and Titouan Thomas there was a comfortable 2-0 lead on the board. After the tying goal just before half-time, things went completely wrong in the second company. Many players fell through the lower limit. “I stand here with a sense of disbelief,” says Boy Kemper. “If you are 2-0 up and the stakes are known, then you can never give it away.”
The captain saw ‘something’ sneaking into the team after Almere City’s 2-1. ‘It cannot be explained. We were fine in it. After the goal we have no grip on it until half-time and we become sloppy. Whether it’s fear, we don’t know.’
Reaching the playoffs no longer seems realistic. Number eight NAC Breda is six points ahead, with five games to go. In addition, the competitor played a game less. The stopped match against Willem II has yet to be played. The Tilburgers are 0-1 ahead. ‘We are no longer in control,’ concludes Kemper.
De Graafschap is still standing between FCDH and the Breda club. Assuming NAC loses, the gap is six points. We can still find out De Graafschap ourselves. The night candle is almost out, but not quite yet. As long as it is possible, you have to keep believing in it. We are no longer in control. That’s the tricky part.’
Verheydt continues to hope for a miracle
Verheydt, like Kemper, is not very hopeful, but remains combative. ‘NAC still has a difficult program. We first have to win at De Graafschap, but it will be very difficult, yes. Is the season over? I hope not: I hope for a miracle. We have to come from a very good background and win five times. It was quiet in the dressing room…”
When the 2-1 and later the 2-2 fell, the ruddy striker already thought the game would turn. ‘You feel it coming. Almere plays good football and pushes us all the way back and it was waiting for the 2-3. But somehow we’re not capable enough to convert it and that’s a bad thing. The opponent will do it differently and we won’t. They had one man more in midfield and we are pushed back.’
According to Verheydt, the defeat is illustrative of the season that the residents of The Hague are going through. ‘This has happened many times before. We lost 22 points after leading. You can say a lot about it: we try to keep each other sharp in the dressing room. A minute after the break it is in and we have to start again. If you have to score four goals at home to win, that’s way too many. If you lead 2-0 at home, you can never lose it again,” concludes the 31-year-old striker.
Source: broadcasting west