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Dutch Cup: Heerenveen down Twente from spot

Heerenveen clinched their first major trophy after holding their nerve in a penalty shoot-out to beat FC Twente in the KNVB Beker final tonight.

Substitute Youssouf Hersi went from hero to villain for Steve McClaren's men as, after grabbing the equaliser with just three minutes of extra time remaining, he blazed his spot-kick over the top.

Twente twice came from behind, Eljero Elia cancelling out Goran Popov's opener in normal time before Bonaventure Kalou restored Heerenveen's lead, but Gerald Sibon converted the winning penalty to finally end their resistance.

Heerenveen were hammered 6-0 by the Enschede side earlier this season, but they started the stronger at De Kuip.

Viktor Elm forced Sander Boschker to save with his feet with an effort from 20 yards before the crossbar came to the keeper's rescue, denying Christian Grindheim in the 21st minute.

Kenneth Perez fired narrowly over with Twente's first chance, but they found themselves behind in the 26th minute.

Boschker missed a long throw from the left and Popov fired home the opener.

Twente came out fighting after the break and Romano Denneboom fluffed his lines just four minutes in when Blaise Nkufo's ball in presented him with a golden chance.

Nkufo was also instrumental in Twente's equaliser in the 54th minute.

The Switzerland international beat Heerenveen keeper Johannes Vonk to the ball and passed to Elia, who beat a defender and finished high into the net.

Boschker was twice called into action to deny Roy Beerens, but in between times Heerenveen were so close to going behind as Perez's shot came back off the left post and Denneboom sent his follow-up wide.

Trond Sollied's side had the woodwork to thank again seven minutes into extra time as Ronnie Stam's effort from outside the area hit a post.

But for all Twente's chances, it was Heerenveen who went ahead again in the 112th minute as Kalou's fierce shot took a deflection off Douglas Franco and left Boschker with no chance.

McClaren's men, though, would not lie down and drew level again five minutes later as Hersi, who had come on for Perez in the 84th minute, headed home from eight yards.

Twente might even have won it at the death but Elia saw his effort headed off the line as the game went to penalties.

And Hersi's miss from Twente's third spot-kick proved decisive and handed Heerenveen the trophy.

"We are in shock after losing this way but I can't blame my players for anything," Twente manager Steve McClaren told reporters.

"We had a problem in the first half and had to reorganise after losing two injured players, but we dominated the second and I am really proud of the efforts my players put in."


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