Almere City beat Emmen in play-off for promotion to Eredivisie

Jorrit Smeets (l), scorer of Almere's second goal, tousles with Ahmed El Messaoudi of Emmen. Photo: ANP/Cor Lasker

Almere City have won promotion to the Eredivisie for the first time after completing a 4-1 aggregate win over Emmen in the play-off final.

The club, which played in the amateur leagues as FC Omniworld until 2005, is the first from Flevoland to compete in the top flight of Dutch football.

Almere took a 2-0 lead into the second leg in Emmen’s De Oude Meerdijk stadium, where the home team were looking to retain their Eredivisie place after finishing 16th in the regular season.

Emmen dominated possession in the first half, but their hopes of mounting a comeback were snuffed out when Almere struck twice in two minutes early in the second period.

First Anthony Limbombe latched onto a long pass out of defence from Thomas Poll and squared the ball across goal for Rajiv van La Parra to smash in from close range.

And when Limbombe fired a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area straight into the wall, team-mate Jorrit Smeets was first to react, lashing the loose ball low into the bottom right corner to give Almere a four-goal cushion.

Emmen pulled a goal back after 58 minutes when Jari Vlak tucked away a rebound from Nordin Bakker’s shot. The team from Drenthe were denied a penalty late on when Ole Romeny was deemed to have dived under Poll’s challenge, but Almere’s goal was never seriously troubled in the closing stages.

Almere coach Alex Pastoor said: “You know anything can happen. I was nervous the whole game. But this shows how the mentality and the culture of our lads has developed over the season.”

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