Sunday 21 May 2023 15:30

Nielsen bags a brace in 2-0 win over Antwerp

On matchday 4 of the Champions' Play-Offs, the top game between Club and Antwerp was again on the programme. Before half-time, neither side created many chances and thus did not score. After the break, substitute Nielsen was crowned match-winner by scoring a double in a short space of time to hand Blauw-Zwart a first win.

After last week's harsh defeat at the Bosuil, coach Rik De Mil saw little reason to make many changes to his starting line-up. He was forced to make one change up front: Jutglà was injured and Yaremchuk got another chance to show himself from the start. The latter had to provide the goals together with Lang. The visitors made only one substitution: Stengs returned to the starting line-up, forcing Keita on the bench.

Door de blessure van Jutglà mocht Yaremchuk in de basis starten.
Door de blessure van Jutglà mocht Yaremchuk in de basis starten.

It was Blauw-Zwart that claimed the ball in the opening stages, but that didn't result in too much goal threat. In terms of ball possession, it were the visitors who gradually had the ball longer. After twelve minutes Club created the first big chance when Vanaken sent Rits through, but Butez was equal to the effort. Three minutes later Sylla blasted over the target on a pass from Lang.

Rits had de beste mogelijkheid voor Club, maar besloot op Butez.
Rits had de beste mogelijkheid voor Club, maar besloot op Butez.

Around the half-hour mark Antwerp created two fine chances to break the deadlock. After a subtle tap from Stengs, Janssen appeared all alone in front of Mignolet but the Dutchman sent his effort high over the target. A few minutes later Ávila tried his luck from far out, but he skied his finish as well.

With around five minutes on the clock Club stepped up again. Vanaken dived into the space on the left-hand side and sent in a cross for Yaremchuk, but the Ukrainian couldn't put enough power in it. On the other side of the pitch Ekkelenkamp's tame header didn't worry Mignolet either.

De Mil made one change at half-time: Mata stayed behind with a minor injury and Nielsen came on. Odoi moved to the right full-back position. Five minutes into the second half Nielsen put his name on the score sheet. Lang feeded the ball into the path of Meijer and the left-full back cut it back for the infiltrating Nielsen, who rifled it into the top corner. Assist number 6 in the league for Meijer, goal number 9 for Nielsen.

Antwerp coach Van Bommel responded swiftly with a triple change. That didn't result in the desired effect, because not long after his first goal Nielsen doubled the score. Substitute Vermant did brilliantly by sending the Dane onto goal, Nielsen did ever so well to put the ball into the low far corner.

Antwerp couldn't make a fist, despite a few half-baked chances: Pacho's header looped over the crossbar and Kerk put the ball wide on a treacherous cross. Towards the end of the game Club created one final clear-cut chance. After a good attacking move between Meijer and Lang, it was Meijer who chipped the ball in front of goal, but Rits couldn't divert it between the sticks.

Janssen had the final say in this game, but his low long-range drive trickled off target.

Nielsen was matchwinnaar voor Club met 2 goals!
Nielsen was matchwinnaar voor Club met 2 goals!

Club grabs his first win in this Champions' Play-Offs thanks to a double by Casper Nielsen. Next week we face Genk at home.

Champions’ Play-Offs – Matchday 4
Attendance: 29.042 – Jan Breydelstadion
Referee: Bram Van Driessche
Club Brugge: Simon Mignolet –  Clinton Mata (46’ Casper Nielsen), Brandon Mechele, Abakar Sylla, Bjorn Meijer – Denis Odoi, Raphael Onyedika, Hans Vanaken, Mats Rits (90+1’ Jack Hendry) – Noa Lang, Roman Yaremchuk (58’ Romeo Vermant).
Bench: Nick Shinton, Senne Lammens, Jack Hendry, Casper Nielsen, Antonio Nusa, Jorne Spileers, Kyriani Sabbe, Romeo Vermant, Cisse Sandra. 
Coach: Rik De Mil.
Antwerp: Jean Butez – Jelle Bataille, Toby Alderweireld, William Pacho (71’ Zeno Van Den Bosch), Gaston Ávila (57’ Ritchie De Laet (75’ Alhassan Yusuf)) – Arbnor Muja, Arthur Vermeeren, Calvin Stengs, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp (57’ Mandela Keita) – Michel Ange Balikwisha (57’Gyrano Kerk), Vincent Janssen.
Bench: Ortwin De Wolf, Ritchie De Laet, Gyrano Kerk, Alhassan Yusuf, Mandela Keita, Christopher Scott, Zeno Van Den Bosch.
Coach: Mark Van Bommel.

Yellow cards: Vermeeren, Odoi, Stengs, Mignolet, Lang, Alderweireld
Red cards: none
Goals: 51’ Nielsen (1-0), 62’ Nielsen (2-0)

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