Wednesday 7 September 2022 19:15

Dream start for Club following win against Bayer Leverkusen

On matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League group stage, Club entertained German outfit Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Shortly before the half-time break youngster Sylla headed in to give Club the lead. Leverkusen pushed for the leveler, but were unable to find the back of the net. A perfect start of our Champions League campaign!

With four consecutive wins in the Jupiler Pro Leage, the blue and black had gained loads of confidence to dive into the Champions League. However, Carl Hoefkens was forced to make a change to his line-up as Mata had taken a knock in the game against Cercle. Odoi replaced him on the right-back position, with Mechele and Sylla in the heart of the defence. Summer signing Onyedika was given the nod for the first time after he had come on last weekend. The most striking name on the other side of the pitch was obviously Kossounou, who returned to the Jan Breydel Stadium after his transfer in 2021.

Raphael Onyedika startte een eerste keer in de basiself.
Raphael Onyedika startte een eerste keer in de basiself.

It was a quiet start of the match with Club holding most of the ball, but as expected Leverkusen were well-organized and even created the first chance after ten minutes. The agile Diaby cut inside from the right-hand side, but his left-footed to strike was too tame to worry Mignolet. Club responded five minutes later when Skov Olsen teed up Sowah, but his effort took a deflection and looped over the crossbar.

It was a balanced game with little chances for either side, but Leverkusen came close to breaking the deadlock when Schick stabbed a low cross just wide of the target.

De jonge Abakar Sylla bracht Club kort voor rust op voorsprong!
De jonge Abakar Sylla bracht Club kort voor rust op voorsprong!

On the half-hour mark the Werkself carved out another goal-scoring chance. This time Kossounou slipped the ball into the path of Diaby who's low strike was tipped against the outside of the post by Mignolet. Club struggled to create a clear-cut chance. Jutglà tried it from distance, but the ball flew wide and over the goal.

And then, just before the half-time break, Club opened the scoring. Sylla rose high on Skov Olsen's corner kick and headed it in with a little help of goalkeeper Hradecky who could have done better. The Finnish goalkeeper was called upon a few minutes later - this time he palmed Sowah's half-volley over the crossbar.

Coach Hoefkens didn't make any changes at half-time, but it was Leverkusen that created the first chance when Diaby's effort took a huge deflection and luckily bounced wide. Leverkusen pushed for the equaliser. Bakker blasted a volley over the target and Hudson-Odoi's long-range attempt was blocked by Nielsen. In between those chances Jutglà tried his luck, but his shot was caught easily by Hradecky.

Club had the game under control, but Bayer 04 was close to an equaliser. First Demirbay saw his shot evade everyone in front of goal, but Schick did manage to put the ball in the net on a cross from Hudson-Odoi ... until the VAR reviewed the goal and it was chalked off for offside. Two minutes later, Schick scored again, but the flag had already gone up.

On the other side of the pitch Skov Olsen curled a left-footed strike towards the far top corner, but he aimed too high.

Club vocht tot het bittere eind om de zege over de streep te trekken.
Club vocht tot het bittere eind om de zege over de streep te trekken.

It was now sink or swim for Club in the last quarter of an hour, with the visitors desperately trying to get something out of the game. Luckily Demirbay's aim was off and in stoppage time Mignolet needed a good reflex save to tip away Hlozek's traitorous free-kick.

It remained 1-0 and so it's a dream start of the Champions League campaign for the blue and black!

 

UEFA Champions League – Matchday 1
Attendance: 22.200 – Jan Breydelstadion
Referee: Irfan Peljto
Club Brugge: Simon Mignolet –  Denis Odoi, Brandon Mechele, Abakar Sylla – Andreas Skov Olsen (83’ Cisse Sandra), Casper Nielsen, Raphael Onyedika (83’ Éder Balanta), Hans Vanaken, Bjorn Meijer – Kamal Sowah (89’ Eduard Sobol), Ferran Jutglà (64’ Roman Yaremchuk).
Bench: Senne Lammens, Eduard Sobol, Dedryck Boyata, Éder Balanta, Lynnt Audoor, Cisse Sandra, Cyle Larin, Antonio Nusa, Roman Yaremchuk. 
Coach: Carl Hoefkens.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Lukas Hradecky – Odilon Kossounou, Jonathan Tah, Piero Hincapié, Mitchel Bakker (67’ Adam Hlozek) – Jeremie Frimpong (86’ Sardar Azmoun), Charles Aránguiz (46’ Exequiel Palacios), Callum Hudson-Odoi (86’ Nadiem Amiri), Robert Andrich (67’ Kerem Demirbay), Moussa Diaby – Patrik Schick.
Bench: Niklas Lomb, Maximilian Neutgens, Paulinho, Sardar Azmoun, Kerem Demirbay, Nadiem Amiri, Edmond Tapsoba, Adam Hlozek, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Exequiel Palacios.
Coach: Gerardo Seoane.

Yellow cards: Palacios, Andrich, Demirbay, Sowah
Red cards: none
Goals: 42’ Abakar Sylla (1-0)

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