Sunday 8 May 2022 16:30

Club Brugge beat Union and leapfrog them into top spot

The Dudenpark was the setting for the top game of matchday three in the Champions' play-off between leader Union SG and pursuer Club Brugge. The blue and black had it hard for a time, but Vanzeir's penalty miss proved the turning point in the game. A resilient Club Brugge was able to score twice: first Vanaken with the opening goal. This win means Club leapfrog Union to first place.

The game started right from the first whistle with a clear tactical intention from the hosts: let Club have the ball and we'll wait for a counterattacking move. This tactic almost payed off right from the start. Inside the first minute Vanzeier was released, but he was thwarted by Mechele.

Club responded swiftly through De Ketelaere who stung the fists of Moris, Odoi skied the rebound. After ten pleasant minutes, Union upped the tempo which resulted in a number of chances, but none of them could beat Mignolet.

Halfway through the first half, Club restored the balance. More midfield play and Club managed to keep the ball for longer periods of time, but that didn't lead to clear-cut chances.

The high pressure of Union on Club meant the players were given little time and space - too little to be dangerous in the attacking third. But ten minutes before half-time, Noa Lang ups the tempo and Club looks dangerous again. After a quickly taken corner kick De Ketelaere aims the ball into the side-netting from a tight angle and Machida needed a last-ditch tackle to prevent Lang putting Adamyan through on goal.

On the other side of the pitch Union appeared in front of Mignolet, but Undav's tame shot couldn't faze Mignolet. Nothing to seperate the teams at half-time after a tough first 45 minutes.

No changes during the break, but Club looked stronger in the second half and could keep the ball better. The first chance was for the blue and black, but Nsoki's volley on a corner kick sailed wide. Union didn't wait long to come up with a response. Two minutes later Vanzeir picked out Undav in front of goal but the German scuffed his finish wide.

Ten minutes into the second half the home side were given a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. Lazare darted into the area and went down easily on a challenge by Mechele. Penalty for Union - Vanzeir behind the ball, but he fired it wide of the target.

That penalty miss introduced a change in the game as Club straightened its back and straightened its back and immediately went on the attack. However, the difference between the two sides remained close. On the hour mark Schreuder brought on Sobol, Skov Olsen was given twenty minutes. These substitutions payed off immediately. Three minutes after Skov Olsen entered the fray, his brilliant cross was met by Vanaken who headed in powerfully. Club in front with fifteen minutes to play.

In the closing stages of the match, Club seemed to have found a second wind thanks to Vanaken's goal. The blue and black were able to keep the ball better, while Union's attacking minded tactic meant there was more space for Club to run into. Unfortunately, Lang and Skov Olsen failed to convert their chance. Finally, deep into stoppage time Club put the game to bed with a second goal. On a swift counter Skov Olsen ran towards an empty goal, but was hacked down by Mitoma who then saw Nusa tap into the empty goal - his first for Club!

Club wins 0-2 and leapfrogs Union with three more games to play. Wednesday Union travels to Jan Breydel for another top game.


Champions’ play-offs – Matchday 3
Referee: Lawrence Visser
Union SG: Anthony Moris – Bart Nieuwkoop (70' Guillaume François), Jonas Bager (19' Kacper Kozlowski), Christian Burgess, Koki Machida, Loïc Lapoussin – Teddy Teuma, Lazare Amani (70' Kaoru Mitoma), Casper Nielsen – Deniz Undav, Danté Vanzeir (90' Ismaël Kandouss).
Bench: Lucas Pirard, Guillaume François, Siebe Van der Heyden, Ismaël Kandouss, Damien Marq, Ilyes Ziani, Kaoru Mitoma, Alex Millán.
Coach: Felice Mazzù.

Club Brugge: Simon Mignolet – Clinton Mata, Brandon Mechele, Stanley Nsoki – Tajon Buchanan, Éder Balanta, Denis Odoi (59' Eduard Sobol), Hans Vanaken, Charles De Ketelaere – Sargis Adamyan (71' Andreas Skov Olsen), Noa Lang (87' Antonio Nusa).
Bench: Senne Lammens, Jack Hendry, Eduard Sobol, Ruud Vormer, Andreas Skov Olsen, Antonio Nusa, Bas Dost.
Coach: Alfred Schreuder.

Yellow cards: Mata, Nsoki, Odoi, Sobol, Teuma, Undav, Mitoma
Red cards: none
Goals: Hans Vanaken ('74) en Antonio Nusa ('90+9)

Report: Brian Dewulf

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