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Cercle take a deserved point against Union

Union had made the best start to the match, on a huge chance for Nilsson in the opening start to the match, Cercle held off the second-placed side in the table. The Groen-Zwart’s chances were scarce in the first half, but with a strong second half Cercle took the lead via Thibo Somers. Cercle couldn't pull out three points in the end and it finished 1-1 after a goal from Nilsson.


The matches have followed each other quickly and it was logical that Miron Muslic rotated his team in a number of positions. Marcelin was preferred to Miangue at the back, and Charles Vanhoutte, who received his fifth yellow card this season at Charleroi was replaced by Abu Francis. Winter acquisition Hugo Siquet also made his debut in defence, allowing Thibo Somers to play further forward. Yann Gboho completed the starting eleven, with Kévin Denkey and Dino Hotic starting on the bench.


Union started the game best, and Nilsson was clear after just five minutes, but Majecki remained in control to snuff out his chance. The visitors combined easily and had the most possession, but real chances were also scarce for them. Nieuwkoop fired over after a corner kick and the attempts of Lapoussin and Teuma were too weak to trouble Majecki. There were only opportunities for Cercle in the final phase of the first half. Olivier Deman took a cross from Siquet down on the right, but his shot went over. Moments later, Da Silva was able to play in Lopes, but his low, fizzing shot went just wide of the post. Halftime came with the score 0-0 and that could be called logical.


With Kévin Denkey on the pitch after the break, Cercle was better able to keep the ball, and started strongly in the second half. We did have to be wary of a shot from Machida early on that went wide, though. Marcelin's header was a lot more dangerous but ended up coming off the top of the crossbar. Ayase Ueda also came on and put his nose with  his shot popping over Moris' goal. A few minutes later, a deserved Groen-Zwart lead finally came to pass as Abu Francis made a nice pass for the Thibo Somers, who did not hesitate to blast the ball hard past Moris into goal (68', 1-0).


Union had a difficult time playing football, but was able to force some opportunities with their height at set pieces. Nilsson's header caromed off Majecki and the crossbar but was off target. A header from Burgess moments later caused no problems for Majecki, either. There was quite a bit of bad luck in Union's equalizer, though Popovic was hindered by Adingra and the ball ended up at Lazare's feet, and his cross was kicked in by Nilsson (82', 1-1).


Cercle did not give up and would cause danger through Denkey and Ueda, as Union continued to look for a winner from a set piece, but Majecki had answers for headers by Kandouss and Burgess. The match would remain 1-1 and Cercle had won a point against one of the better teams in the Jupiler Pro League. Still, the feeling would prevail in the dressing room that a victory was certainly one of the possibilities.


Starting lineups:


Cercle: Majecki, Popovic, Marcelin (Ravych 61’), Daland, Siquet (Denkey 46'), Da Silva Lopes, Francis, Deman, Somers, Gboho (Hotic 61') and Ueda


Union: Moris, Machida, Burgess, Kandouss, Nieuwkoop (Adingra 61'), Lynen, Puertas (Lazare 61'), Lapoussin, Teuma, Vanzeir (Boniface 43') and Nilsson (Sykes 87').

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