Utrecht has one foot in the European playoff final after a comfortable 3-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem in the first leg of their semi-final clash.

Vitesse were boosted by the return to fitness of Jeroen Houwen and Nikolai Baden Frederiksen, but the good feeling for the Arnhem side was dashed after three minutes. Willem Janssen netted at the back post to put the hosts in front.

In the 21’s minute, a poor ball from Thomas Buitink was latched onto by Utrecht and Sander van de Streek fired his side 2-0 ahead.

Vitesse were struggling and they lost Baden Frederiksen at the break, while Buitink also went off injured. Utrecht took advantage and after a poor challenge by Riechedly Bazoer, Simon Gustafson netted a third from the penalty spot.

Vitesse gave themselves some hope by pulling one back through Patrick Vroegh but they now have it all to do in the second leg on Sunday.

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