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Saturday, May 22, 2004 

Amstel Cup Final Preview: FC Utrecht-FC Twente

On Sunday FC Utrecht, the current cup holders, and FC Twente will battle for glory in the Amstel Cup Final. Both teams have had a mediocre year (Twente finished 8th this season, while Utrecht had to settle for 10th place), but the Amstel Cup gives them a chance to end the season on a high. By winning the cup either Utrecht or Twente will secure an Uefa Cup ticket.

For FC Utrecht it's the third year in a row they will contest the Cup Final and it's their fifth final altogether. In 1982 FC Utrecht were finalist for the first time. That year AZ Alkmaar, one of the best sides in Holland in those days, were too strong. Three years later Utrecht had more succes, when Helmond Sport was defeated (1-0). After this win in 1985 the fans had to wait a long time before they could celebrate another cup win. In 2002 Utrecht were back for their third final. In a thrilling match Utrecht lost to Ajax in extra time (3-2). One year later - last year - the Utrecht outfit had more succes when they upset Feyenoord in their own stadium De Kuip by beating them 4-1.

FC Twente also enter the final for the fifth time. The best years in the club's history date back to the seventies. In those days Twente was one of few teams in Holland that could compete with the great Ajax and Feyenoord sides. In 1975 Twente even reached the Uefa Cup final against Borussia Monchengladbach and the club also appeared in three Dutch Cup Finals. In 1975 (against FC Den Haag) and 1979 (Ajax) FC Twente were defeated, but in 1977 the cup was theirs when they recorded a 3-0 win over PEC Zwolle in extra time. Then the fans had to wait a long time before they could celebrate again. In 2001 FC Twente reached the Cup Final for the fourth time. After a scoreless match they upset PSV after a penalty shoot out.

Team news

So, both teams will try to win their third cup in history on Sunday. FC Utrecht will be without Pascal Bosschaart. The 24-year-old midfielder, who will play for Feyenoord next season, is suspended. Karim Touzani, who will leave Utrecht this summer to play for Twente (!) is injured. The same goes for Tom van Mol and Donny de Groot, who will also be absent. For Patrick Zwaanswijk it will be his last match for Utrecht. He has told the club he doesn't want to extend his contract and hopes to find a new club in England or Germany.

For Rene Vandereycken this will be the last game in charge of FC Twente. The coach will return to his home country Belgium next season to take over RC Genk. Although Twente reached the Cup Final and has played some good and spectecular games this season, he hasn't been given the credit he deserves. At Twente there are some doubts over the fitness of Swiss star Blaise N'Kufo and German youngster Peter Niemeyer. Especially N'Kufo has played a crucial role in Twente's Amstel Cup campaign. The forward left the field with an injury after 7 minutes last Sunday, but Vandereycken hopes he will be fit to play tomorrow.

Source: Soccerage

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