Groningen are KNVB Cup champions for the first time in their history after beating holders PEC Zwolle 2-0 at De Kuip.

rusnak gron knvb cupPEC Zwolle were aiming to be the first team since Ajax in 2007 to retain the KNVB Cup, but it was Groningen, chasing their first ever trophy, who made the greater start at De Kuip, with Michael de Leeuw missing a great opportunity in the first minute. The pride of the north were the form team going into the game, and they scared the PEC Zwolle defence on several occasions in the opening fifteen minutes, but could not beat the in-form goalkeeper Warner Hahn.

Gradually as the first half wore on PEC Zwolle created chances with Tomas Necid heading wide, Mustafa Saymak smacking a shot over, and ten minutes before the break winger Jody Lukoki curled a shot just past the post after a great run past three Groningen defenders.

Ten minutes into the second half PEC Zwolle were denied a penalty when Eric Botteghin appeared to trip Saymak in the box, and minutes later Groningen keeper Sergio Padt had to make a good stop to deny Ryan Thomas, who’s shot was heading for the top corner.

With thirty minutes left Edwin van de Looi decided to switch the ineffective Mahi for Jarchinio Antonia and minutes later Groningen had the lead. Antonia’s deflected cross found its way to Albert Rusnak on the edge of the box, and the midfielder’s half volley struck Joost Broerse’s foot before nestling into the bottom corner.

Antonia was proving the difference for Groningen, and the substitute played a big part as Groningen scored their second goal on 74 minutes. A long ball over the top saw Antonia in tons of space on the right wing, and the winger took his time to pick out Rusnak, who slotted in his second at the back post.

PEC Zwolle threw on Sheraldo Becker and Stef Nijland, but they could not find a way back into the game as Groningen held on to claim their first KNVB Cup, and qualify for next season’s Europa League.

Groningen are the eighth different team to win the KNVB Cup in the last eight years, and their win will be celebrated for weeks in the Northern city.

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