Controlling a match and taking the lead, but then also handing it over: it is a repetitive story at FC Den Haag this season. It also happened against Almere City again. Conclusion? The team from The Hague cannot play matches in an adult manner.
A tired Mario Bilate searched for his words in the mixed zone in the Bingoal Stadium. The 31-year-old striker has been through a lot in his career. But the way in which FCDH handed over the match against Almere City even he seemed hard to believe. ,,After that 2-0 I really thought: cat in the bakkie. I don’t know how this is possible. It seems like there is a curse on us after that play-off final”, Bilate sighed.
What is the experienced attacker referring to in terms of that ‘curse’? That the team from The Hague will continue to give away matches this season in which it is ahead and nothing is wrong – as was the case in the final of the play-offs against Excelsior last season. The numbers also show it: FCDH already lost 22 points this season after a lead, more than any other team in the Kitchen Champion Division. If Dick Advocaat’s team had won those points, it would now be on 65 points and in third place.
But it always goes wrong when FCDH is ahead, like yesterday against Almere City. Cause? In any case, the team from The Hague cannot maintain a good level for ninety minutes, says captain Boy Kemper. “That is typical for this season. We are too volatile. We can play well for half an hour, but then sink again. That is difficult for me to understand. In any case, you can see that with every small setback, fear creeps into the team.”
It is what Bilate also refers to after the defeat. ,,You notice that we lose it and cannot regain the momentum. We were just really good against Almere, went like the fire brigade and the audience shouted ‘ten, ten, ten’. But after the 2-1 you can feel it slipping out of our hands and we are going to walk further backwards little by little. I said to Thomas Verheydt: ‘Here we go again’. Then you call it on yourself,” says Bilate.
According to Bilate, a tactical conversion of the team from Flevoland also played a role in the collapse of FCDH. Kemper saw it that way too. “That is also something that has happened to us more often this season. At the start of the game we know what to do and our tasks are clear, but if the opponent puts it differently, we cannot sufficiently recognize and anticipate it in the field.”
Still, the first goal by Almere City seemed to be the turning point in the game on Sunday. A goal that resulted from a personal foul. Defender Tyrese Asante was sleeping and covering on the wrong side. Also last week against Roda JC (1-1), a personal miss, also by Asante, killed the team. The individual errors are a recurring phenomenon for the team from The Hague this season.
According to Kemper, it has nothing to do with quality, but with sharpness. ,,Because we are no less than Almere City, PEC Zwolle or Willem II. But they are constantly sharp and deadly, especially when it matters. And then we renege,” says Kemper. And so, after a painful afternoon, Bilate came to a clear conclusion: ,,We cannot play games maturely this season.”
Whether it’s a ‘curse’ or not: FCDH lost expensive points in the battle for the play-offs, which, six points behind number eight NAC with five games to go, is only a utopia.