The Bruges city derby ended in a goalless draw, despite Club having the lion share of chances, with a special role for Cercle's goalie Warleson, who will surely haunt Club's dreams in the coming days.
Two changes to the team that had beaten FC Lugano on Thursday: up front, Ferran Jutglà was preferred over Igor Thiago, while Bjorn Meijer reclaimed his place at left back at the expense of Maxim De Cuyper. Another start for Joel Ordóñez too, his first in the league.
No time to waste seemed the motto of both teams, and the game started as it would end: at an excruciating pace. The first real threat was for the visitors, but Somers could not get a good foot to a fine Nazinho free kick seeing it go well wide. Club's reaction was immediate with a fine counter attack setting up Meijer, but he saw his cross get cleared in the nick of time. Moments later, Utkus prevented Skov Olsen from scoring the opener, and two more chances followed for the hosts soon after, seeing one, spoiler alert: not for the last time, saved by Warleson, and the second pushed into corner kick after Vetlesen and Skov Olsen combined through the heart of the visiting defense.
The pace started to claim its victims, but Club kept coming: Vanaken saw his shot cleared from the goal line, while both Jutglà and Zinckernagel were unable to frame their attempts. Not that Cercle was easily pushed aside: Lemaréchal tried his luck from afar, while Denkey took a cross from that same Lemaréchal in one go to put it against the outside of the post. Moments later, an Utkus header went wide, but the final threat in an eventful first half was or Club, Vanaken launching Jutglà, but the shove in the back as he controlled the ball was not enough to be rewarded with a spot kick.
With Spileers and Thiago on for the injured Ordóñez and Skov Olsen, Club had one more half to break the deadlock, and the change up front almost paid off, but the Brazilian came centimeters short of heading in a fine Meijer cross. Club piling on the pressure, Cercle kept luring on the break. A cleared corner kick even created a 3vs1 situation with Onyedika fortunately keeping a cool head to deny the Cercle attack. A bit later Gboho avoided the off side trap, but was unable to beat Mignolet one on one. On the other side of the pitch Warleson proved the better of a Jutglà shot.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Deila gave Nielsen and De Cuyper the nod, reshuffling his team towards a 3-5-2, hoping to thwart Cercle's hopes on a draw, and Club now upped the tempo and kept coming. De Cuyper found Thiago inside the box, but the latter hesitated a tad too long. The ball finally came to Vetlesen, but his shot, and the rebound that followed were both expertly saved by Warleson.
The home crowd had found its nemesis, and the Brazilian goalkeeper kept producing unbelievable saves: Jutglà, left all alone, finally seemed to find a way through, but this time Miangue somehow managed to keep it out. Just a few minutes to go and Club again switched gears. Zinckernagel found Jutglà with a razor sharp cross, but again Warleson saved the day. On the other side of the pitch, a Van der Bruggen shot was blocked, but the final word was again for Warleson, pawing away Meijer's last gasp effort, keeping the score at a frustrating 0-0.
Jupiler Pro League – Match day 14
Audience: 27,000 – Jan Breydel Stadium
Ref: Erik Lambrechts
Club Brugge: Simon Mignolet – Tajon Buchanan (64’ Maxim De Cuyper), Joel Ordóñez (46’ Jorne Spileers), Brandon Mechele, Bjorn Meijer – Hugo Vetlesen, Raphael Onyedika (64’ Casper Nielsen), Hans Vanaken – Andreas Skov Olsen (46’ Igor Thiago), Ferran Jutglà, Philip Zinckernagel (88’ Michał Skóraś). Bench: Nordin Jackers, Nick Shinton, Éder Balanta en Shion Homma. Coach: Ronny Deila.
Cercle Brugge: Warleson – Hugo Siquet (93’ Kazeem Olaigbe), Jesper Daland, Edgaras Utkus (70’ Boris Popovic), Flavio Nazinho (78’ Senna Miangue) – Nils de Wilde, Hannes Van der Bruggen, Félix Lemaréchal – Thibo Somers, Kevin Denkey, Yann Gboho (78’ Alan Minda). Coach: Miron Muslic.
Yellow: Utkus, Ordóñez, Onyedika, Nazinho, Minda, Somers.