EXCELSIOR FACE FINAL-DAY BATTLE
Excelsior will go into the final game of the Eredivisie season two points adrift at the bottom of the table after they could only draw 2-2 with nearest rivals De Graafschap in a match delayed late on by a thunderstorm.
Soufian El Hassnaoui opened the scoring for the hosts in the 24th minute but Excelsior turned things around and took the lead through goals from Luigi Bruins and Roland Alberg.
It stayed that way until 12 minutes from the end when Michael de Leeuw headed the hosts level, and Excelsior were then reduced to 10 men when Mick van Buren saw red.
De Leeuw fired over the bar from the first chance in the 16th minute, while at the other end Alberg could not keep his header down.
De Graafschap then threatened again through De Leeuw before taking the lead in spectacular fashion when Gil Vermouth set up El Hassnaoui for a thumping volley.
Excelsior reacted well and were level inside eight minutes, Bruins exploiting some weak defending by Jochem Jansen to fire home, and a minute after half-time they almost took the lead but Joost Broerse's free-kick was brilliantly saved by Yves De Winter.
There was nothing the keeper could do in the 55th minute, though, as Alberg seized on Bruins' through ball and rounded De Winter before tapping in to put Excelsior ahead.
Jason Oost should have extended the lead but he shot straight at the keeper, and in the 78th minute De Graafschap pulled level when Nenad Sreckovic's corner was headed in powerfully by De Leeuw.
Excelsior pressed hard for the winner but their cause was not helped when Van Buren was sent off for a bad tackle in the 82nd minute, only a minute after he had come off the bench.
The match was then suspended for an hour with only four minutes left on the clock as a thunderstorm passed over the stadium, and neither team could break the deadlock on the resumption.
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