The Groen-Zwart looked to qualify for the Round of 16 of the Croky Cup on Wednesday evening. At the King Power at Den Dreef Stadium, Cercle won 2-3 with goals from Hotic, Marcelin and Taravel.
Cercle moves on in the cup after winning at OH Leuven, 2-3!
For Cercle, with the brand new management duo Vanderhaeghe and Buffel as spectators in the stands, the match could not have started better. Olivier Deman was brought down by De Norre in the area and referee Smet immediately pointed to the spot. Dino Hotic easily put Cercle ahead with a hard, low shot. Just as quickly as the lead came, the home team drew level when Maertens was able to shoot past Bruzzese in goal. It was a dazzling start to the match, and both teams were putting their best foot forward, but real chances were few in number. On the half hour, though, there was one for Denkey, who cut inside but could only hit the post.
In the meantime, it started to rain heavily at the King Power at Den Dreef Stadium, but both teams kept looking for the chance to attack: Denkey came close to reaching a cross from Somers for Cercle before Lopes Da Silva checked his run. Still, neither side was able to create any real opportunities, but the commitment was there. Just before half-time Marcelin got forward, and to his great surprise he made it into the opponents' box and was able to slot the ball past Romo into goal: Cercle were back in the lead and unlike the start of the game, the home team did not immediately respond. Leuven were still on the hunt, but Marc Brys' team got no closer to goal than a free kick that hit the side netting, and Cercle headed to the locker room with a narrow lead.
There were no changes at the start of the second half, at least for Cercle. For the hosts, Brys dropped two experienced heads into the team with Henry and Hubert coming on for Allemeersch and Malinov. Leuven continued to look for openings in the Cercle defense on a pitch that was becoming difficult to play on, but the Groen-Zwarte were well organized. When the lively Deman went down again after contact with Hubert in the area, Smet again pointed to the spot: the captain, Taravel, stepped up to smash the ball into the bottom left corner past Romo to make it 1-3. There was a bit of a dust-up a little later when Marcelin was fouled by Maertens. There were words between the players and in the tumult a Leuven player went down: Smet gave Marcelin a red card and the Frenchman headed to the showers. The interim duo of De Wulf and Artz immediately intervened tactically and took off Denkey, who had been playing creditably, for a defensive reinforcement in the form of Cassaert. And that was necessary, because Leuven went hell for leather to get back into the match in the last ten minutes -- Hubert quickly scored to make it 2-3 and it remained dangerous in front of goal for Cercle. The scoring, however, was done and the result saw Cercle qualify for the Round of 16 in the Croky Cup. The opponent in next week's match will be one of KV Oostende or Waasland Beveren.
OH Leuven: Romo – Jemelka, Sowah, Schrijvers, Bese, Kotysch, De Norre, Eppiah (67’ Myny), Malinov (46’ Hubert), Maertens & Allemeersch (46’ Henry)
Cercle Brugge: Bruzzese – Vitinho (60’ Dekuyper), Taravel, Hotic (60’ Koshi), Denkey (84’ Cassaert), Deman (74’ Musaba), Marcelin, Corryn, Van Der Bruggen, Somers & Lopes Da Silva
Goals: 1’ Hotic (0-1); 3’ Maertens (1-1); 39’ Marcelin (1-2); 72’ Taravel (1-3)
Bookings: 17’ Eppiah; 45’ Corryn; 56’ Vitinho; 67’ Bruzzese; 77’ Musaba; 84’ Denkey
Red cards: 81’ Marcelin
Referees: Wim Smet