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Charleroi had no mercy on Cercle in the initial phase and immediately took the lead via Morioka and Bessilé. Cercle showed resilience, but were only able to do so after the break, thanks to
some good attacking moves that really packed a punch. Charleroi were pushed back, but not for the first time this season, Cercle lacked a clinical touch. They would pull a ball back late on via Daland, but it came too late to score another, or to save a point.
After a great performance away to Racing Genk, Yves Vanderhaeghe obviously saw no reasons
to change his starting eleven. However, the contrast with the match at Genk was unexpectedly stark
in the beginning and the visitors immediately punished Cercle's passive start. After four minutes,
Morioka easily dribbled into the box, beating Didillon with a low shot. Already in the lead, in the 8th minute Charleroi made it 0-2: after a deflected free kick the ball landed in front of the goal and there
Knezevic and Bessilé combined easily. Didillon again had no chance on the shot and Charleroi were now playing their football firmly in control.
Cercle had a few chance through individual play, but Charleroi kept the Groen-Zwart at bay without any problems. Indeed, through Zorgane, the Carolos were even close to, just before half-time, a
With a double change (Deman and Velkovsky for Millàn and Miangue) and a different mentality
Cercle started the chase, beginning the second half in good spirits. Hotic, in the
opening minute of the half, would miss a huge opportunity. Deman tried as well, with a long shot.
Hotic fired a free kick over and wide before being subbed off for Denkey. The Togolese striker almost made a difference immediately, with a long shot and then came close to a goal with two headers. Koffi made a nice save on the first header and saw the second flash centimeters wide, while in between, Gholizadeh hit the post on a rare counterattack.
Attempts by Rubio and Deman lacked conviction and it took (too) long for a goal to come. Daland nodded home in the 89th minute, but in stoppage time, Cercle's football was too chaotic to be able to get any more from their opponents. Cercle continues to look for a first home win of the season, and will soon have another chance, when KV Mechelen comes to visit next week.
Cercle: Didillon, Vitinho, Daland, Sousa, Miangue (Velkovski 46'), Van Der Bruggen (Utkus 73'), Lopes Da Silva, Hotic (Denkey 63'), Matondo (Waldo 73'), Millàn (Deman 46') and Somers
Charleroi: Koffi, Tchatchoua (Benchaib 75'), Andreou, Knezevic, Bessilé, Kayembe,
Ilaimaharaitra, Morioka, Gholizadeh (Gillet 87'), Zorgane (Zaroury 87'), Descotte (Nicholson 54')
Cercle won a friendly against Royal Excel Mouscron on Friday morning by a convincing 5-1 score. Ackx, Millan, Kanouté, Sampers and Waldo provided the goals for the Groen-Zwart; Mohamed scored for the visitors from the penalty spot.
For Cercle, Kanouté and Waldo Rubio came back from injury and the duo gained the necessary playing time. Youngster Christiaan Ravych was also added to the squad. Since coach Yves Vanderhaeghe is still in quarantine, the match was led by the coaching duo of De Wulf and Muslic, just as had been the case against Genk.
Cercle were dominant throughout the match in Limburg, but the result, only a point, seemed an unjust reward for their performance. Somers gave Cercle the lead after a great attack and in the second half the result turning to 0-2 seemed far likelier than the hosts responding, but substitute Bongonda gave Genk what was a very flattering point late in the match.
Cercle started the match with two changed, both enforced, compared to last week: the injured pair of Utkus and Corryn were replaced by Lopes Da Silva and Miangue. Cercle also had to do without Yves Vanderhaeghe, who was missing from the bench following a positive test for COVID-19. His assistants, Jimmy De Wulf and Miron Muslic, took over his duties on the touchline.
Cercle started the match with a lot of desire and pressed Genk from the off, closing the hosts down deep in their own half. It took fifteen minutes before this resulted in a first chance, but Vandevoordt was quick off his line to deny Millàn. The home team could only counter that with a shot from Paintsil, before Hannes Van Der Bruggen seemed to give Cercle the lead after 22 minutes. A cross from Vitinho reached Millàn, and his deflected shot fell right at the feet of our captain, who slipped the ball in. Howeever, after three minutes of consulting VAR, they came to the conclusion that Van Der Bruggen was offside by a few millimeters, a very tough decision.
The goal being denied seemed to wake up the home team, as their towering striker Onuachu headed the ball back to Thorstvedt, but Sousa would easily block an effort that lacked power. The biggest chance for the home team would follow moments later, though. Onuachu was again involved, setting up the speedy Paintsil, but Didillon emerged with the ball from the speedy winger.
Cercle quickly took over control of the match and deservedly took the lead after a quick switch of play. Millàn would prove stronger than Toma, as he then played in Hotic before Dino's low cross was tapped home by Thibo Somers. Cercle pushed on and would even force a few corner kicks before half time. Millàn headed one of these corners from close range after a deflection from Miangue, but Vandevoordt pushed the ball onto the post.
Millàn kept looking for a goal as a birthday present to himself and made himself known again in the opening minutes of the second half, as his header seemed heading in at the far post, but Toma was there in time to clear the ball off the line. Moments later, Matondo went down in the box following a challenge by Preciado, but this time VAR remained silent.
A shot by Ito caused some excitement in the home crowd, but Didillon watched the ball flash a meter wide of his goal. After that, the game's only chances seemed to be falling for Cercle for a long time. Vandevoordt did well to deal with a low cross from Lopes Da Silva, and Millàn was unlucky, slipping before he could reach the rebound. Perhaps the best chance to make it 0-2 would fall to Thibo Somers. Dino Hotic's pass was sublime, but Vandevoordt's save from Thibo's effort was just as good. The match now became stretched but Cercle were unable to find a second goal to seal the result.
It was only in the final part of the match that Didillon was tested, on a powerful effort from the substitute Bongonda. Yet the equalizer for the home team would come against the run of play as Bongonda headed in to make it 1-1 in the 89th minute. Cercle pressed for what would have been a deserved win, but it didn't get any further than an attempt by Olivier Deman.
Cercle eventually had to settle for a draw. It was scant reward for the effort they had showed, but Genk goalkeeper Vandevoordt and VAR kept Cercle from victory.
Racing Genk: Vandevoordt, Muñoz (Preciado 46'), Sadick, Lucumi, Arteaga, Toma (Trésor 58'), Thorstvedt (Oyen 88'), Heynen, Ito, Onuachu (Ugbo 46'), Paintsil (Bongonda 58').
Cercle Brugge: Didillon, Vitinho, Daland, Sousa, Miangue Van Der Bruggen, Lopes Da Silva, Hotic (Vanhoutte 88'), Matondo, Somers (Denkey 82') and Millàn (Deman 72')
A penalty goal after an intervention by VAR gave Antwerp all three points this afternoon. However, Cercle can once again look back on a good performance, as they certainly deserved more from the game, even if it leaves the Groen-Zwart with another bitter, narrow defeat.