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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.
One of the league's form teams, KV Mechelen came into this match fourth in the standings, paying a visit to Bruges on matchday 16 in the Jupiler Pro League. The Groen-Zwart were looking for a goal from the off and saw Utkus open the scoring on a corner. Storm surprised the home team by equalizing just before half time, but in the second half Cercle came into their own, as Hotic gave Cercle the lead again from the spot. The Bosnian then provided a nice assist for Rabbi Matondo to make it 3-1. Finally, the first home win of the season was in the books.
Coach Yves Vanderhaeghe had made three changes, with Utkus, Decostere and Velkovski on after the loss against Charleroi. In attack, Deman was preferred to Millàn.
The Groen-Zwart started the game with good intentions. Utkus got on the end of a free kick by Van der Bruggen, but his header went just wide of the second post, so Coucke didn't have to make a save. On the quarter hour, Matondo was able to turn past Walsh and move upfield. His pass to Somers was good and he turned it low across goal from the left, looking Deman to turn the ball home. However, Van Hoorenbeeck just managed to get a foot in, and the attempt went out for a corner. Moments later, Cercle's strikers would set each other up again. Deman cut in from the right and found Somers who turned his man and shot, but his attempt also missed Coucke's goal by a hair's breadth.
After a bitter defeat in Oostende, Cercle went in search of points at home against Standard Liege. Bastien gave the Rouches the lead early on, but Daland canceled the opener on 15 minutes, and no more goals were scored after the interval.
Yves Vanderhaeghe made two changes, with Hotic and Matondo on after having not started at Oostende. Utkus was serving a one-match suspension (5 yellow cards) and Charles Vanhoutte was on the bench.
Cercle tried to continue with the same energy as against KVO and attacked from kick-off. They were caught cold, however, when Standard's first chance, after just three minutes, fell to Bastien who dribbled around the edge of the area and curled the ball into the far corner, just out of Didillon's reach.
On matchday 9 in the Jupiler Pro League, Cercle headed to the Ghelamco Arena to face KAA Gent, with Álex Millàn opening the score from the penalty spot in the 1st half. After the break, Gent turned the tables with goals from De Sart and Lemajic.
Both coaches had started the match with elevens playing together for the first time; for the Groen-Zwart there was a start for Kanouté for the first time, while Corryn and Denkey had a place as well, with Velkovsky and Deman on the bench.
The Ghelamco Arena was not completely full for the game, which was played at the same time as the World Cycling Championships. The players of Cercle did not let this bother them, however, as they started the match well. Millan sent in a corner just after the 7 minute mark and the ball came to Utkus, whose header hit the inside of the post. Bolat was caught off guard at first, but was able to pick up the ball easily.
Gent then woke up, taking control of the match. On fifteen minutes, the hosts also had their first corner. The ball landed right at Bayo's feet, but his effort caromed off the crossbar. Two minutes, a free kick by Operi had to be punched clear by Didillon.
While the preparation for the next game at Jan Breydel is in full swing at Zulte-Waregem, 6 players had international commitments this week. Below an overview:
- Kévin Denkey played with Togo against Senegal and Namibia as part of the qualifications for the World Cup in Qatar. Against Senegal, Denkey played 10 minutes. (2-0 loss). Togo also lost their next match against Namibia 0-1. Denkey played 19 minutes in the match.
- Dimitar Velkovski was called up for Bulgaria as part of the World Championship qualifications. On 2 September Bulgaria played against European champion Italy. This match ended 1-1. Against Lithuania of Edgaras Utkus it was 1-0 for Bulgaria. The third match for Bulgaria was on 8 September at home against Georgia. With Velkovski on the pitch for 90 minutes it became 4-0.
- Edgaras Utkus took on Lithuania against Dimitar Velkovski's Bulgaria (1-1) and against Northern Ireland on 2 September. It was 1-4 in favour of the Northern Irish. In both matches Utkus played 90 minutes. Against European champion Italy, Lithuania lost heavily: 5-0 in Italy. Utkus played 45 minutes.
- Olivier Deman received a letter of invitation for the U21 of Belgium. In the qualification games for the European Football Championship -U21, Deman and co. played against Turkey (2/09). In Turkey, it became 0-3 for the Red Devils.
- Boris Popovic, our new central defender, was selected for the U21 of Serbia. In the qualification for Euro U21, he played against Ukraine (3/09) and North Macedonia (7/09). Against Ukraine, Serbia lost 0-1. In and against Macedonia it was 0-0.
- Finally, Jesper Daland was called up for the U21 of Norway. He played in the qualification for the European Championship U21 against Austria (3/09) and Estonia (7/09). At home against Austria, Daland and co won with 3-1. Daland played 90 minutes. In the match against Estonia Daland played 63 minutes. He also picked up a yellow card.