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Just before the league's break for the World Cup, Cercle headed to Stayen with the Japanese international Ueda. The Japanese underscored fine his form halfway through the second half by holding off two defenders and beating Schmidt, in an otherwise uneventful match. Cercle did take all three points and were in eighth place after the match.
There was little reason to make changes after the win against OHL, coach Muslic thought; he selected exactly the same eleven who had kicked off the last league match to face STVV.
Cercle had a chance for the first time when Deman received what had been a deep ball from Popovic back from Denkey. He crossed hard to Ueda, who was able to shoot but the Japan international saw his effort go just past the far post. The home team then took control, but both goalkeepers had a relatively worry-free first half.
Francis came on for Vanhoutte after the break, and the Groen-Zwart took over command of the match from the hosts but again there were no chances for a long time. On the hour there was a good run from Popovic who played in Denkey. The striker cut inside and then struck hard aiming for the near corner, but Schmidt correctly guessed that the ball would go wide.
This effort, however, would mark the beginning of some excitement coming into the match. At the other end there was a good run from Hayashi who cut inside and shot on target. Majecki saw the ball coming straight for him, however, and easily gathered it. In the 69th minute, Denkey played a ball into Ueda's path. He held off two defenders and aimed his shot hard into the bottom corner. The Japanese striker lived up to his reputation as Schmidt had no chance to keep out his shot.
Bernd Hollerbach immediately brought on three substitutes, hoping to turn the tide. But substitute Kaya was sent off after just nine minutes. After a duel with Popovic, the Truiden player reacted by kicking out. VAR had seen it, and a red card immediately followed.
That immediately ensured that the final attacks by the hosts would be without much danger, despite five added minutes of play. In added time, Lopes Da Silva would receive a second yellow card, but it didn't change the result. With the result, our Groen-Zwart moved level with OHL into eighth place in the table.
STVV: Schmidt, Janssens, Al-Dakhil (Hashioka 74'), Leistner, Bauer, Bocat (Koita 75'), Okazaki (Kaya 74'), Boya (Van Dessel 81'), Konaté, Bruno (Brüls 55') and Hayashi
Cercle: Majecki, Daland, Ravych, Popovic, Denkey, Hotic (Van der Bruggen 87'), Vanhoutte (Francis 46'), Da Silva Lopes, Deman, Ueda (Gboho 94') and Somers
Cercle advanced to the Round of 16 of the Belgian Cup after a convincing win against Beerschot. With a fast start to both the first and the second half, Denkey (twice) and Ueda decided the game. Die Kelsen could never really lay claim to a victory.
Cercle started its cup adventure on Wednesday evening against Pro League side K Beerschot VA. Because Cercle was the only team that had to compete against a second division side, they were given home advantage. Muslic changed his team in five places: Warleson, Gboho, Kehrer, Van Der Bruggen and Francis were all in the eleven from the off. Majecki, Ueda, Lopes and Vanhoutte respectively got some rest in that way. Ahead of the match, Muslic indicated that he was taking the cup competition seriously.
The match started with a dream start for our Groen-Zwart: Gboho played in Denkey and the leader of our attack immediately found the net to make it 1-0. An answer from Beerschot did not come immediately, although the home team were kept quiet for a while. Die Kelsen often tried to play wide of Cercle, looking for one of their speedy wide players via a long ball, but that also only yielded one chance. Just before half time, the Antwerp side were able to equalize the. Verlinden continued up the right flank and beat Warleson at the near post to make it 1-1.
Then we got to see a more spectacular second half. Muslic threw on Velkovski, Hotic and Ueda and those choices paid off after just a few seconds: a shot from the latter from just inside the box left the visiting goalkeeper, Lathouwers with no chance; it was 2-1. After that dream start to the second half for Cercle, we pushed for more straight away. Lathouwers misjudged Hotic's corner and the ball ended up at Denkey's feet: 3-1 Again Beerschot did not have a strong response, as Ueda had a chance to make it 4-1 after Denkey had chested it down to him, but the Japanese - soon to be seen at the World Cup - could not get his attempt on target. The Groen-Zwart played the match with plenty of maturity, as the substitutions all stood their ground. Thorisson to pull a goal back for Beerschot with a long shot, but the Antwerp side would do no better. 3-1 was the final score -- a deserved win!
Miron Muslic kicked off the match with an unchanged team, and those eleven again showed plenty of zeal as OH Leuven clearly had a hard time with that. In the first half hour both teams could only create some danger via corner kicks, little that was difficult for the goalkeepers.
The last quarter of the first half made up for it, though, as Charles Vanhoutte created the first chance with a good interception, a long run and a shot that went just over before, a little later Cercle took the lead. Thibo Somers was strong and smart throughout the game and brought the ball down in front of the goal. Ayase Ueda showed his jumping ability there and our World Cup-bound attacker headed home for the opener (36', 1-0). However, Cercle could not enjoy the lead for long. De Norre was given just a little too much time to make a pass and found Mario Gonzalez, who finished well (41', 1-1).
The second half started almost ideallly for Cercle. After bad ball from goalkeeper Cojacaru, Ueda was able to get on to the ball. His cross palmed onto Da Silva Lopes' feet by the Leuven 'keeper, but our midfielder's effort was cleared off the goal line by Dom. For Leuven, only Gonzalez could trouble Majecki on the hour. The OHL attacker shot wide, but he was also offside.
The visitors played a little better in the second half under pressure from Cercle, but that did not result in any more than possession of the ball. They barely got into Majecki's area. At the other end, Cojacaru was also a spectator, because Cercle also failed to find its strikers often enough. Cercle continued to work for the win and in stoppage time they were rewarded. Ricca headed the ball down to the feet of Christiaan Ravych (91', 2-1) who fired home the matchwinner, his first goal in professional football. There was no time left for a reaction from the visitors and Cercle would notch their third home win in a row.
Cercle: Majecki, Popovic, Ravych, Daland, Somers, Vanhoutte (Francis 77'), Da Silva Lopes, Deman, Hotic (Kehrer 88'), Ueda (Gboho 80') and Denkey.
OH Leuven: Cojocaru, Ouédraogo (Keita 42'), Ricca, Patris, Kiyine (Vlietinck 88'), De Norre, Dom, Tamari, Holzhauser (Thorsteinsson 62), Maertens and Gonzalez.
After an intense match, Cercle had to settle for a point away to KVK. Cercle dominated most of the game and took the lead early on. In the second half, the Groen-Zwart had some good chances to double the lead, but it was Messaoudi who scored to level for the hosts. In an exciting final phase, both teams had chances to snatch a win, but no more goals were scored.
After a good run of form saw the team pick up 12 out of 15 points, the Groen-Zwart went confidently to the Guldenspoor Stadium in Kortrijk. Muslic changed his starting eleven in two positions: the injured Marcelin made way for Ravych, and captain Vanhoutte rejoined the squad, while Francis had to make do with a seat on the bench.
Urged on by 550 traveling supporters, Cercle immediately went on the attack. We pushed KVK back and werre soon rewarded for it: in the ninth minute, Popovic headed a cross from Da Silva perfectly into the goal. Under the pressure from the Groen-Zwart, the pace of the match was very high, although that did not yield many scoring chances. A long shot from Vanhoutte gave Ilic some work to do, and then Hotic placed a free kick just wide. At the other end, the home team occasionally came up with some clever bits of play, but barely succeeded in threatening Majecki. Halfway through the match, the score remained 0-1.
After the break, the home team started more eagerly and that led to their first real chance. Wanatabe got on the end of a cross from D'haene from close range, but Majecki was in the right place. Cercle reacted with a header by Ueda, but Ilic had few problems dealing with this attempt. The match was end-to-end, although the better chances were falling to Cercle. Substitute Gboho, who had just come on, and then Denkey both failed to double the lead. As so often happens, the goal then came for the other side, as the Kortrijk substitute Messaoudi curled the ball perfectly past Majecki. Both teams then went all out for the win, which resulted in good chances for both sides. In added time Cercle came closest to the winning goal, but Denkey headed a corner from close range just wide.
KV Kortrijk: Ilic, Watanabe, Dessoleil, Radovanovic (Locar 65'), D'haene, Keita, Vandendriessche (Bruno 46'), Sych, Mbayo (Messaoudi 61'), Lamkel Ze, Avenatti.
Cercle: Majecki, Daland, Popovic, Ravych, Vanhoutte, Da Silva Lopes, Hotic (Kehrer 77'), Deman, Somers, Hotic, Ueda (Gboho 63') and Denkey.
Goals: Popovic (9', 0-1), Messaoudi (79', 1-1)