Sunday 24 April 2022 15:30

Club opens play-off campaign with 1-0 home win

A 1-0 win over Antwerp presents Club Brugge with the best possible start to the Champions’ play-offs. A deflected shot by Tajon Buchanan sailed over Butez, keeping the three points at Jan Breydel.

The team that had successfully set aside Mechelen two weeks ago, was changed in one position. Alfred Schreuder opted for Charles De Ketelaere, referring Sargis Adamyan back to the bench. One minute into the game, that same De Ketelaere took care of Club's first threat, launching Noa Lang, but the Dutchman saw his shot blocked. An eventful Antwerp also tried its luck, but this time it was Buchanan clearing the ball just before Haroun went for gold.

Odoi gaat voorbij Nainggolan
Odoi gaat voorbij Nainggolan

With a firm organisation, Antwerp tried finding its way through the Club defense on the break. Possession was for Blue and Black, but it was the visitors who produced the first real threat of the game: an Almeida header went to Frey, who deviated the ball above target. Club reacted through Lang, seeing his effort saved by Butez. Just after the half hour mark, an excellent through ball by Odoi put Skov Olsen eye-to-eye with Butez, but the Dane took too long to shoot, and only got a corner kick out of the excellent opportunity. 

Tajon Buchanan bracht Club op voorsprong
Tajon Buchanan bracht Club op voorsprong

Club now started taking matters more firmly in hand: Buchanan's shot was blocked, and Rits came inches too late of tapping in a fine Buchanan cross. With ten minutes to go still in the first half, Club opened the score. Lang found Buchanan on the edge of the box, cutting inside, and aiming for the far corner, but the shot got deflected and sailed over Butez in goal. The visitors tried to react straight from kick-off, but Mignolet proved the better of a Haroun strike. The last chance in an eventful first 45 minutes was for Skov Olsen, who saw his shot denied by Butez.

The coffee only just digested, Club again served up a good chance: Rits tried to get past Butez in the first corner, but the French goalie would not falter. On the other side of the pitch, a long range strike by Nainggolan was saved by Mignolet. Despite the goal down, Antwerp retained its defensive stance. Ten minutes into the second half, De Ketelaere tried to pick the lock on Antwerp's defense, finding the goal line, but unable to reach Lang with a fine cross.

Aiming for that one good break, the visitors kept trying to go for that equaliser, and came close as Yusuf was unable to frame his attempt. Unabashed, the hosts kept combining for that second goal: two right wing crosses went missing, while Vanaken's header up on a Lang cross went wide. With fifteen minutes on the clock, Vanaken's free kick ended up in the eager paws of Butez, while Adamyan, just in, deviated a Skov Olsen cross just wide.

Noa Lang is Seck te snel af
Noa Lang is Seck te snel af

The remaining minutes urged Antwerp coach Priske to pull out his last offensive trump cards, but apart from a shot by left back Vines, no real questions were asked of the Club defense. To make matters even worse for the hosts, Abdoulaye Seck conceded a second booking, bringing his team down to ten. The last chance of the game was for De Ketelaere, eagerly dribbling his way past some Antwerp defenders, but ultimately aiming the ball above target. A narrow win for Club Brugge as it opens the play-offs. The gap with Union, beating Anderlecht later on that day, remains at three points. 


Champions' play-offs – Match Day 1
29,000 – Jan Breydel Stadium
Ref: Mr. Erik Lambrechts
Club Brugge: Simon Mignolet – Clinton Mata, Brandon Mechele, Stanley Nsoki – Andreas Skov Olsen (87’ Eduard Sobol), Mats Rits, Denis Odoi (78’ Éder Balanta), Hans Vanaken, Tajon Buchanan – Charles De Ketelaere, Noa Lang (68’ Sargis Adamyan). Bench: Senne Lammens, Ruud Vormer, Bas Dost, Antonio Nusa and Abakar Sylla. Coach: Alfred Schreuder.
Antwerp: Jean Butez - Jelle Bataille (61’ Ritchie De Laet), Abdoulaye Seck, Dorian Dessoleil (83’ William Pacho), Dinis Almeida (83’ Johannes Eggestein), Sam Vines - Radja Nainggolan, Faris Haroun (83’ Pieter Gerkens), Alhassan Yusuf - Michel Ange Balikwisha, Michael Frey (61’ Benson Manuel). Coach: Brian Priske.
Yellow: Nainggolan, Dessoleil, Nsoki, Seck, De Laet.
Red: 90’ Seck (2x yellow).
Goals: 37’ Buchanan (1-0).

Text by: Steven Floin (sv)

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