Club ends season with 3-2 win over Antwerp
Club Brugge ended the season with a 3-2 victory over Antwerp FC. Loïs Openda broke the deadlock early on, but Baby and Mbokani turned things around shortly after the break. In the closing minutes Vossen and Openda kept the three points home.
Ivan Leko made four changes to the team that lost away against Standard. Mata and the suspended Mechele were replaced with Saulo Decarli and Mats Rits. Marvelous Nakamba replaced Rits in midfield. Siebe Schrijvers was given the nod and played on the left-hand side. Loïs Openda teamed up with Wesley. Amrabat and Dennis were on the bench.
Antwerp created the first danger of the game through Lamkel Zé, but it was Club that opened the scoring inside the first five minutes after a brilliant attacking move. Diatta found Vanaken inside the box and the midfielder picked out Openda who blasted in unstoppable at the near post.
An early lead for the blue and black, but the visitors almost immediately equalised. Horvath needed a great reflex save to deny Mbokani, Baby missed the rebound by not kickind over the loose ball in front of the empty goal.
Twenty minutes into the game Mbokani looked like equalising again when Rits' header to Horvath didn't have enough power, but this time his lob stranded on top of the crossbar.
It wasn't top class football, but there were plenty of chances. Antwerp goalkeeper Bolat was called upon twice on a header by Vanaken and Openda. A few minutes later, Openda was sent through on goal, but Bolat rushed from his line to block the attempt from the young striker.
On the other side of the pitch, Horvath's heart must have skipped a beat when he let a back-pass roll over his foot. Luckily the American was just quick enough to clear the ball on the line.
Both sides had chances just before the break. Vormer's free-kick just sailed wide and Vanaken's header went over the crossbar. For Antwerp Mbokani and Yatabaré's shots were off target.
At the start of the second half, Club created a good chance to double the lead when Diatta feeded the unmarked Wesley, but the Brazilian needed too much time and he was thwarted.
Antwerp had a little scare but created a few chances themselves. First Haroun's deflection went wide, but early in the second half the Reds equalised when Amara Baby headed in Lamkel Zé's cross. And almost immediately Club conceded another goal. This time Mbokani slided in a low cross. Flagged offside at first, but the VAR allowed the goal.
The blue and black upped the tempo with chances for Diatta, Vossen and Schrijvers. The winger curled his effort wide and Bolat saved the effort of Vossen and parried away Schrijvers' strike.
Ten minutes before the end Club celebrated the well-deserved equaliser. Diatta's cross took a deflection on Oparé's cross and referee Laforge pointed to the spot and Jelle Vossen fired in: 2-2.
Immediately after Vossen's goal, Openda went down inside the box as well, but this time Laforge let play continue. On the other side of the pitch Decarli needed a last-ditch tackle to deny Baby from scoring, while an effort by Bolingi sailed over the crossbar.
It remained intense until the final minutes, but then there was Openda again to keep the three points home. The forward tapped in Vormer's low cross at the far post.
Deep into stoppage time Refaelov's shot clipped the crossbar and Bolat denied substitute Luan Peres.
The score didn't change anymore. Club Brugge beat Antwerp 3-2 and end the season second with two points behind Racing Genk.
Jupiler Pro League – Play-Off I, fixture 10
Attendance: 27.000 – Jan Breydelstadion
Referee: Nicolas Laforge
Club Brugge: Ethan Horvath – Saulo Decarli, Mats Rits, Stefano Denswil – Krépin Diatta (91’ Luan Peres), Ruud Vormer, Marvelous Nakamba, Hans Vanaken, Siebe Schrijvers – Loïs Openda (96’ Cyril Ngongé), Wesley Moraes (58’ Jelle Vossen). Bench: Karlo Letica, Benoît Poulain, Sofyan Amrabat en Brendan Schoonbaert. Coach: Ivan Leko.
Antwerp: Sinan Bolat – Daniel Opare (83’ Ivo Rodrigues), Abdoulaye Seck, Dylan Batubinsika (86’ Jonathan Bolingi), Simen Juklerød Sambou Yatabaré (46’ Lior Refaelov), Faris Haroun, Omar Govea - Didier Lamkel Zé, Dieumerci Mbokani, Amara Baby. Coach: László Bölöni.
Yellow cards: Yatabaré, Wesley, Decarli, Baby, Mbokani, Rodrigues.
Red cards: none
Goals: 4’ Openda (1-0), 53’ Baby (1-1), 56’ Mbokani (1-2), 80’ Vossen (penalty, 2-2), 89’ Openda (3-2).
Report - Steven Floin