After a lightning start, Groningen came away from Utrecht with a 3-1 victory which boosts their chances of a European playoff spot.

The game was only four minutes old before Utrecht goalkeeper Fabian de Keijzer fouled Michael de Leeuw resulting in a penalty. Mo El Hankouri slotted in the opener from the penalty spot. Six minutes later, De Leeuw made it 2-0 after a long ball by Jørgen Strand Larsen.

Utrecht struggled to create chances against an organised Groningen defence and they went into halftime to a chorus of jeers from the home crowd.

Three minutes into the second half, Utrecht pulled one back with Bart Ramselaar finding the net after a poor clearance from Peter Leeuwenburgh.

Utrecht then controlled the ball but they did not trouble Groningen enough and just before the end, Strand Larsen sealed the victory with a fierce finish.

Utrecht are seventh in the table but now only three points ahead of Groningen in the eighth spot. Both positions will be good enough for a European playoff spot this season.

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