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Cercle wins in Beerschot and takes its first 3 points of the season!

On the opening day of the new season, Cercle went to the Kiel to face Beerschot. The Groen-Zwart had a difficult start, having to sub off the injured Miangue for Popovic before half-time. Just before the break, Decostere delivered a wonderful cross that Deman headed in flawlessly. Unfortunately, the game had to be stopped after half-time due to heavy rain that made the pitch unplayable.

Coach Yves Vanderhaeghe had brought in in 3 debutants in the form of central defenders Utkus, Daland and Miangue. Decostere and Vitinho manned the flanks while in midfield, newly-minted captain Charles Vanhoutte and Hannes Van der Bruggen, together with Hotic, were responsible for prodviding service  to Denkey and Deman. The other new signings, Sousa and Rubio, were absent from the teamsheet.

From kickoff, the rain came pouring down from the sky. This cloudburst lasted for about ten minutes and immediately resulted in a very fast pitch on which every ball moved unpredictably and players slid for meters when making tackles in a match that was also marked by the return of fans to stadiums after a season away owing to COVID-19.

Cercle Brugge KSV

Beerschot would eventually take control in the first half, albit without being really threatening. Holzhauser had an effort on 27 minutes with a curling shot towards the far post from the edge of the area, but Didillon was able to capture it without much trouble. Cercle were having a hard time getting to grips with the match, and just past the half hour mark, Miangue was forced off with an injury, with Popovic coming on to replace him.

And then, 5 minutes to go before half-time, Van der Bruggen played in Decostere down the right flank. The right back swung the ball in perfectly and Deman beat his man to head home an unstoppable effort. It was a wonderful goal, which gave Cercle the lead at the interval.

At the start of the second half, the heavens opened again. A heavy downpour moved over the stadium and made playing football difficult. Just ten minutes into the second half, the referee Boucaut moved to temporarily suspend the match. The rain stopped for a while and after a break of about 15 minutes, the players returned to the pitch to warm up. The competition delegate did a thorough check of the pitch, but after five minutes the referees went back inside. They would eventually come back on the pitch one more time and finally called off the match because there was too much water on one part of the pitch.

Cercle Brugge KSV

72 hours later, the match was resumed, on Tuesday, July 27; both coaches would make some changes. For the hosts, Beerschot, Sanyang and Eleke started instead of Krekovic and Réda. As for the Groen-Zwart, Da Silva Lopes came on for Van der Bruggen.

Beerschot had little time to settle in, but didn't get any further than winning a pair of corner kicks in the match's first 15 minutes. Then, in the 78th minute, Dom took a chance from just outside the penalty area and to Didillon's relief, the ball flashed just wide of the goal.

Beerschot did seem to be energized by this chance and would put Cercle under pressure. Holzhauser launched one ball after another into the box, but Cercle were very solid defensively. Peter Maes then brought on Noubissi in place of Suzuki to strengthen the attack. Yves Vanderhaeghe also made a change, with Somers replacing Denkey.

In added time, Didillon was able to tap a corner kick which had been met by Dom just over his goal. With that, the final whistle blew; Cercle had kept a clean sheet and Olivier Deman's goal was enough for the first three points of the season.

Cercle Brugge: Didillon - Vitinho, Utkus, Daland, Miangue (38' Popovic), Decostere - Vanhoutte, Van der Bruggen (Da Silva Lopes 55'), Hotic - Denkey (Somers 91') and Deman

Beerschot: Vanhamel, Konstantopoulos, Frans, Van den Buijs, Halaimia (Sanyang 55'), Dom, Van den Bergh, De Smet, Krekovic (Eleke 55'), Holzhauser and Suzuki (Noubissi 87')

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Dino Hotic's corner kicks have been a guarantee of chances in recent months and such a corner formed the basis of the first chance of the match after 10 minutes, but Daland's header was cleared off the line by a Eupen defender. Cercle often tried to play quickly, using long balls over the top, but Agbadou and his fellow defenders kept the Cercle attack at bay. Thibo Somers would try his luck with a shot from range, but Himmelmann did well to keep it out.

Both teams struggled to keep the ball and chances remained scarce in the first half. Keita also tried his luck from distance, but his shot was no problem for Didillon. Just before half-time there was a chance when Olivier Deman headed a curling cross over the bar, but Himmelmann again had the situation under control.

Cercle started the second half sharply with an effort by Millàn and a huge chance for Senna Miangue. At the other end, Didillon had to clear a shot by Magnée over the bar. Kevin Denkey came on for Millàn just before the hour and impressed immediately. Agbadou blocked his shot before Thibo Somers fired his fine cross over.

The home team became more and more physical in the last quarter hour, but in the end it was a long throw that was the basis of the opening goal. Lambert's headed clearance came off the back of his teammate Amat and Somers reacted the fastest, hitting a volley that left Himmelmann no chance (77' 0-1). Cercle pushed on and a few minutes later the referee pointed to the spot after Magnée had fouled Olivier Deman. Dino Hotic kept his cool and doubled the lead for Cercle (0-2 81'). The home team's resistance was now broken and Cercle were still looking for a third goal. Somers' shot was blocked by a home defender and Kevin Denkey spent too long on the ball in stoppage time. The match thus ended 0-2, a logical result for Cercle, who continue its good form even after the win!


Eupen: Himmelmann, Beck, Amat, Agbadou, Gnaka, Nanah (Essahel 70'), Lambert, Magnée (Sternon 85'), Déom (Offermann 72'), Keita, N'Dri (Embaló 85')

Cercle: Didillon, Decostere (Vitinho 46'), Popovic, Daland, Miangue, Van Der Bruggen, Vanhoutte (Kanouté 86'), Hotic, Deman (Sousa 82'), Millàn (Denkey 57') and Somers

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Matchday 21 was one played without supporters, something which made for very unfortunate circumstances for the Groen-Zwart as Boxing Day saw them welcome Club Brugge in the Bruges Derby. Cercle showed the best of themselves, though, and it didn't let the visitors get into their game. Early in the second half, Miangue gave Cercle the lead and just before full time, Sousa doubled it on a pass from the outstanding Matondo.

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In a good first half it was an enthusiastic Cercle that had the best chances. Deman seemingly had the opening goal at his mercy but Mechele and Sobol kept him from scoring. His fellow striker Somers was also able to get a shot away, but Mignolet would keep things scoreless heading into the break. Club, for their part, were not able to get to grips with the game, even though Didillon had to tip a powerful shot by Vanaken over his goal on a pass from De Ketelaere.

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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.

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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.

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