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In a physical battle, Cercle and KV Mechelen held each other to a goalless draw. We didn't see any real chances until the second half. In the final stretches of play, Cercle strove to record a home win, but the deserved goal just wouldn't come.
Dominik Thalhammer made two changes to his team following the defeat against Standard. Charles Vanhoutte took the place of Hannes Van der Bruggen in midfield and Ayase Ueda was preferred to Kevin Denkey as a striker.
After ten minutes we had the first chance: Dino Hotic played a nice through ball to Olivier Deman. Peyre made contact and Olivier went down, but there was too little for a penalty kick, said both referee De Cremer and the VAR. The visitors' answer came via Storm, but his powerful shot was no problem for Majecki.
After the drinks break halfway through the first half, Cercle took the upper hand, but that did not result in more than a few corner kicks. The best opportunities would even fall to the visitors. Maleda even seemed to score to make it 0-1 on the stroke of half-time, but he did so from an offside position.
Even after the break there was again a bit of a wait for any real opportunities, but on the hour Cercle came close to scoring twice. First Ueda fired over goal as his effort deflected off Peyre's leg. After some good build-up play by Da Silva Lopes and Deman, Thibo Somers had the chance to score the opening goal, but his effort went just wide. Then it was up to the visitors to respond, with a few shots from range in quick succession. Shved's was the most dangerous, but Majecki was able to claw the ball away from under the crossbar.
In the final spell of play, Cercle pinned the visitors back and even came close to taking the lead via the substitute Denkey. His headed goal was flagged off for a narrow offside and Coucke also made an excellent save. Thus, a reward for a strong display in the final minutes was not forthcoming and Cercle had to settle for sharing the points.
Cercle Brugge: Majecki, Decostere, Popovic, Daland, Torres (Heitor 64'), Vanhoutte (Van der Bruggen 87'), Da Silva Lopes, Hotic, Somers, Ueda (Denkey 75') and Deman (Kehrer 64')
KV Mechelen: Coucke, Walsh, Peyre, Van Hoorenbeeck, Bolingoli (Swers 86'), Lavalée, Van Hecke (Vanlerberghe 71'), Schoofs, Storm (Hernandez 86'), Hairemans (Da Cruz 71') and Malede (Shved 57').
With three points from six from the first two matchdays, Cercle headed to the Stade de Sclessin hungry for a result. Standard needed the points as well, after only a draw from their first two matches. Both teams fought for every blade of grass in a physical match in Liège. Amallah, with two penalties in the first half, was the key man in the match, as the Rouches' creative midfielder converted both flawlessly.
Dominik Thalhammer had brought on Popovic (back from suspension) in place of the injured Utkus and in attack Denkey was preferred to Ueda.
After an excellent performance at home against Anderlecht, Cercle had what was a deserved victory. Despite several good chances, the Groen-Zwart, who gave Anderlecht no chances to speak of, were unable to translate what was a good first half into a lead. It wasn't until halfway through the second half, when Anderlecht started to leave space, that Cercle rewarded themselves with a fine goal by left back Louis Torres.
After a frustrating performance at Westerlo, our Groen-Zwart looked to rebound against Anderlecht. Cercle immediately put pressure on the visitors, taking the initiative. After a good quarter of an hour, Ueda, who had already had a chance, put the ball in the net. Referee Boterberg, however, had seen a foul in the build-up and the goal was waved off. Anderlecht had great difficulty getting to grips with Cercle's play and did not create a single chance before the break. In addition, Ishaq was sent off on the visitors' part. However, Cercle also failed to reward themselves on the scoreboard, despite their strong play. Van Crombrugge saved a header from Da Silva and pushed a free kick by Hotic behind for a corner. Then, when the Anderlecht goalkeeper was beaten on an attempt by Deman, Trebel was in the right place to clear the ball off the line.
The pace of the game from the first half remained unchanged in the initial phases of the second. Anderlecht, though, who had been up to this point somewhat toothless, suddenly created a huge chance: a cross from Raman was headed by Amuzu off the bottom of the crossbar. Cercle, on the other hand, failed to convert their dominance into any strong opportunities and seemed to be having a harder time against Anderlecht in the last quarter of the match. That is, until Torres found his shooting boots. The summer recruit started from his position at left back, advanced and found the goal after a one-two with Deman to get past Van Crombrugge. A brilliant goal! Anderlecht tried to get back into the match, while Cercle failed to take advantage of the space that opened up. There were no real chances at either end, though, and Cercle kept a richly deserved three points.
Cercle Brugge: Majecki, Decostere, Utkus (Ravych 38'), Daland, Torres, Da Silva, Van Der Bruggen (Vanhoutte 78'), Hotic (Denkey 78'), Somers, Deman (Sampers 86') and Ueda.
Anderlecht: Van Crombrugge, Delcroix, Hoedt, Debast, Ishaq, Amuzu (Angulo 84'), Ashimeru (Fabio Silva 46'), Trebel, Verschaeren (Arnstad 59'), Esposito (Refaelov 71') and Raman (Sadiki 59')
Goal: Torres 76' (1-0, assist Deman)
Cercle closed the opening matchday of the 2022-2023 season with a trip to promoted side Westerlo. De Kemphanen have a lot of experience at home and could also count on an enthusiastic home crowd. Popovic received his second yellow card after half an hour and just before half-time, Daci opened the score for the hosts. It was an ideal scenario, and our Groen-Zwart had to chase the match after the break. The best chances came for the home team, who were making good use of the extra space. Just before full time, Vetokele would double the lead, making 2-0 the final score.