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Cercle go unrewarded despite a strong performance

For a long time it looked like Cercle would get a good result away to league leader Union Saint-Gilloise, but a mistake in added time left the Groen-Zwart empty-handed.

It didn't take long before the home team threatened for the first time at the Joseph Mariënstadion. The speedy Vanzeir was sent deep in the opening minute, but out goalkeeper Didillon did well to intervene. Cercle reacted via a corner kick: Utkus rose highest and quickly gave us the lead in the opening ten minutes. Union would remain the most dangerous team, but Teuma and Mitoma were unable to score before an effort from Undav went over the fingertips of Didillon and the crossbar. Then things improved for the Groen-Zwart. The speedy Matondo was picked out in the area and outwitted goalkeeper Moris and from a tight angle. Without playing the most aesthetically pleasing football, the Groen-Zwart fought for every ball and put the home team under good pressure. Vanzeir was able to threaten again shortly before half-time, but fired wide, and Cercle went into halftime with a 0-2 lead.

After the break, both teams had an excellent chance. After good build-up play by Matondo, Somers couldn't get the ball past Moris, and at the other end Nieuwkoop headed the ball against the crossbar from close range. However, our two-goal lead wouldn't last, as Union hit the target with their next chance. A looping ball landed at the feet of Mitoma, who slammed the ball into the roof of the net. Cercle continued to fight against a Union who were growing in confidence, but after a collision between Daland and Van Der Bruggen, Thalhammer had to use his second substitution out of necessity: Van Der Bruggen had a serious head injury and was unable to continue. Union showed no mercy and after a wild phase, Nieuwkoop leveled the score. The match remained exciting until the final bit of play, and the match was tied in extra time before a final dramatic turn. In a seemingly harmless bit of play, a misunderstanding between Daland and Didillon caused the Norwegian defender to tap the ball into his own goal. Cercle tried to turn the tide again, but were unable to beat Moris. Cercle were thus not rewarded for what was a great performance away to Union, the current league leader.

Union: Moris, Bager (Lazare 46'), Kandouss (François 86'), Van Der Heyden, Nieuwkoop, Nielsen, Teuma, Lapoussin (Avenatti 90'), Mitoma, Undav, Vanzeir (Marcq 96').

Cercle: Didillon, Decostere, Daland, Utkus (Sousa 20'), Velkovski (Vitinho 81'), Van Der Bruggen (Vanhoutte 63'), Da Silva, Hotic, Matondo, Deman (Millan 81') and Somers.

Goals: Utkus (8', 0-1), Matondo (24', 0-2); Mitoma (56', 1-2), Nieuwkoop (75', 2-2), Daland (OG) (91', 3-2).

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