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A battling Cercle take three points against Beerschot

After a fiercely contested match, Cercle took three points at home against Beerschot. Cercle scored twice in the first half hour but made it difficult for themselves with a red card shortly after going ahead 2-0. With Beerschot scoring early in the second half, the Groen-Zwart had a tough task to hold on for the result. However, Vanderhaeghe's men stood their ground, giving Cercle a big victory in the battle for relegation.

When Velkovski deflected a corner by Beerschot against his own post, Cercle had an early shock and were lucky to keep things on level terms. However, the Groen-Zwart quickly took the initiative and their first sight of goal after a wonderful long ball from Lopes. Velkovski took it well, but saw his effort fail to hit the target. Just after the fifteen minute mark the break through came for the hosts as Bates headed a corner on to Biancone, who was in the right place to make it 1-0. Then, when Pavlovic was fouled in the box, the referee pointed to the spot. The team's top scorer, Ike Ugbo, calmly slotted home to allow Cercle to double the lead. A few minutes later, VAR asked the official to look at a foul by Velkovski, and the winger was shown a straight red card, which meant that Cercle would have to play with ten men for nearly an hour. The visitors, who had shown very little of yet, pressed forward immediately and were almost rewarded for it as Dom saw his header hit the post but the Groen-Zwart went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

The second half started, however with a goal quickly conceded by Cercle. A free kick from Holzhauser early in the second half was headed in by Van Den Bergh. The Groen-Zwart had a tough time playing a man down, but worked hard and showed good organization. They kept the visitors at bay and occasionally got forward on the counter, but neither Hoggas nor Biancone would really threaten Vanhamel. Despite dominating possession, Beerschot created very little in the way of chances. Holzhauzer had a few decent crosses into the area, but even they did not yield very much for the visitors. However, it was on set pieces that Beerschot remained dangerous as Van Den Bergh was close to getting on the end of a free kick from Holzhauser. The visitors got forward threateningly towards the end of the match, but the Mannekes did not get much beyond a shot from Suzuki, which bounced clear of Eleke, as Cercle held on for three vital points in the battle to avoid relegation.

Cercle Brugge: Didillon, Decostere, Biancone, Bates, Pavlovic, Velkovski, Vanhoutte, Da Silva Lopes (88' Hotic), Hoggas (75' Van der Bruggen), Deman (46' Corryn) and Ugbo (75' Ugbo).

Beerschot: Vanhamel, Dom, Radic, Frans (46' Sanyang), Van Den Bergh, Vorogovskiy (46' Bourdin), Sanusi, Pietermaat (80' Eleke), Holzhauser, Brogno (65' Bakkali) and Suzuki.

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When Hoggas got a red card just after the half hour mark, Cercle seemed to have shot themselves in the foot in this vital match in their fight for survival. Still, despite being outnumbered, Cercle showed tremendous resilience and beat OHL comfortably, 3-0. With this result, Cercle took a big step towards staying in the top flight.

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OHL had shown little before half-time and came back of the dressing room with much more intent. A shot from the substitute Schrijvers ended up coming off the post. Still, it was the inevitable Ugbo that put Cercle in a dine position: a shot from Velkovski was only half-cleared and the Cercle striker reacted fastest to make it 2-0. Leuven increased the pressure and tried to pin back Cercle. However, the defense held up well and on a rare corner, the captain Taravel all but sealed the result as he climbed highest nodded home to make it 3-0 against the run of play. Cercle successfully defended its lead tooth and nail and when Henry came close to a consolation in the closing stages of the match, the goalkeeper Didillon was there to make a great save.

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