Vitesse’s chances of Champions League football took a hit as they were beaten 3-1 by an excellent Groningen at the Euroborg.

zivkovic aThe home side got off to a terrific start as Richairo Zivkovic burst through on goal before rounding Piet Velthuizen and firing into the net to make it 1-0 after 10 minutes.

Zivkovic was causing mayhem in the Vitesse defence, and the Ajax bound striker could have netted two more before the half hour mark if not for good saves from Velthuizen.

Vitesse started to take control as the half went on and Marco Bizot had to make a brilliant save to deny Christian Atsu, but the on loan Chelsea man got revenge when he netted the equaliser on 39 minutes. Latching onto a long ball, Atsu burst into the box before lifting the ball over the onrushing Bizot and into the net.

Ten minutes into the second half Groningen retook the lead when a corner swung in by Tjarron Chery found Nick van der Velden at the back post, and the big midfielder slotted into the net.

It was 3-1 to the hosts on 64 minutes as Chery fired a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box after Vitesse’s defence stood off the winger.

Groningen could have added another before the end of the game, but Andraz Kirm blasted over the bar from close range with Zivkovic in acres of space.

The win lifts Groningen up to 9th and they are back in the hunt for a European play-off spot, while Vitesse miss the opportunity to move clear in 2nd, and could find themselves fourth by the end of the weekend.

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