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KV Mechelen beats Cercle with a late goal

It was a match that seemed destined to end as it started, but turned at the death for the visitors. Camargo struck in the 87th minute, leaving Cercle with another home defeat and a feeling of frustration.

Yves Vanderhaeghe opted for a 4-3-3 formation in his debut as head coach for Cercle. With Cercle having made an appeal, Marcelin was able to play as usual, despite his red card in the cup match against OH Leuven. He started in central defence alongside Taravel the captain. On the left, Corryn and Somers wre in the eleven, while Dino Hotic was to try to create openings as a number ten.

The visitors started best, with Didillon called into action on a low shot from Hairemans in the first minute of play. In the first part of the first half, possession also remained mostly in the hands of the visitors, although it was almost half an hour before Didillon had to make another save, on a header by De Camargo.

In the meantime, Cercle could have opened the scoring three times in a short stretch. Hotic pressed Peyre into losing the ball in his own box, but played the ball out to Somers, who could not get past Thoelen. Then Musaba had a shot a few minutes later, offering the visitors more trouble, before Taravel's header after Cercle's first corner kick flashed over the bar.

After that bit of liveliness, very little happened for both sides until after half time, with both showing good organization, leaving both Didillon and Thoelen with little to do.

The two sides came out unchanged at half time, but Cercle would start off best. After a lengthy spell of build up play, Dino Hotic found enough space on the edge of the area for a shot, but saw it go a meter over. On a free kick that followed a few minutes later, Dino should have done better than to kick the ball into the Mechelen wall. After De Camargo had headed over from a corner, the best opportunity of the match came for Cercle. On a good bit of skill and a cross from Musaba, Thibo Somers's well-hit shot fizzed just wide of Thoelen's goal. Vanlerberghe's shot then called Didillon into punching clear, but after that the danger had hardly passed, as the physical strength of the visitors began to tell -- Didillon was barely able to parry a powerful effort from Kaboré.

Denkey came on for Ugbo fifteen minutes before time and the substitute immediately showed his ability with a through ball for Somers. However, Thibo's shot did not trouble Thoelen. Hoggas, who had also come on, headed straight at Thoelen at the far post. A fair draw seemed to be the logical result, but then the visitors struck at the last. Storm played in De Camargo, who seemed to foul Didillon. The line judge's flag immediately went up, but the goal was awarded after viewing a replay. There was hardly any time left to respond and Cercle ended the match having lost at home again.

Cercle: Didillon – Vitinho, Marcelin, Taravel, Corryn – Vanhoutte (90’ Kanouté), Van Der Bruggen, Hotic (83’ Hoggas) – Musaba, Ugbo (73’ Denkey), Somers (90’ Deman)

KV Mechelen: Thoelen – Kaboré, Peyre, Vanlerberghe, Bijker – Van Damme, Shved (76’ Druijf), Schoofs, Hairemans (91’ Vranckx) – Mrabti (65’ Storm), De Camargo

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In a difficult first half, a heavily rotated Cercle side had a hard time getting a foothold in the game. Nmecha gave the home team the lead early on and while after that, Cercle didn't give much away, they hardly created any danger themselves. Cercle showed a different side to their plau in the second half, but bad luck and some excellent saves by Wellenreuther kept Cercle from getting what would have been a deserved equalizer. This is how Cercle's cup adventure ends -- in the quarterfinals. All of the team's attention can now focus on the five remaining league games.

Anderlecht could boast a strong home reputation at the Lotto Park in advance, where they had only lost once this season. Cercle, on the other hand, could drew confidence from their strong performance against Anderlecht a few weeks ago, in a scoreless draw at the Jan Breydel Stadium. Cercle made a lot of changes in comparison to the eleven who started the win against Waasland-Beveren at the weekend. Only Bates and Marcelin kept their places, and together with Taravel they formed the heart of the defense. “Cup keeper” Bruzzese took his place in goal, just as in the previous rounds of the cup. Corryn and Decostere played on the flanks, and the midfield was composed of Vanhoutte, Van Der Bruggen and Kanouté. After two impressive matches, Denkey was picked to lead the line; he was joined in attack by Musaba.

Because of all the changes, it was clear some time would be needed for Cercle to settle. Diaby found space in the box early in the game, but Bruzzese saw his shot only end up in the side netting. It took almost 10 minutes for Cercle to show something themselves, though. Musaba was able move into the area  after a few good dribbles, but his reward was only a corner kick. A few minutes later, Cercle's hesitant start was punished as Sambi Lokonga was too much time to play in Nmecha, who, after a clever bit of skill, was able to beat Bruzzese.

Cercle had a better period shortly after the goal, and were almost rewarded with a quick equalizer. Kévin Denkey steamed into the box in his now familiar style, but his shot was cleverly tipped away for a corner by Wellenreuther. Things then went downhill for Cercle, who could barely keep the ball. Anderlecht's direct play gave the hosts a few more chances in the area, but with a little luck and thanks to some interventions by the captain Taravel, further damage was limited. Besides a shot from Mukairu, Bruzzese also had little to do in the first half.

Come the start of the second half, Cercle showed a different side to their play, with a shot from Denkey in the opening minutes. Moments later, he was unlucky with a header off the post after an excellent cross from Decostere. Denkey then got into the role of playmaker and played in Musaba in front of goal, but his strike partner's shot was too easy for the goalkeeper. After changes by both teams (two for the home team, three for Cercle), Anderlecht took over control of the game again, but other than a header from Miazga, cleverly tipped over the bar by Bruzzese, they did not yield much.

With Ugbo on for Musaba, Yves Vanderhaeghe threw all his troops into battle in the final quarter of the match. Anderlecht were knocked back but could count on their goalkeeper. Wellenreuther still had something to say on the match's outcome, showing clever reflexes on a header from the substitute Ugbo and a shot from Denkey. Verschaeren also defelceted a free kick from Hotic just wide of his own goal. Cercle continued to fight until the last second, but without reward. The last chance fell to the feet of Hannes Van Der Bruggen, but his shot went a few meters wide. Thus, Cercle were not rewarded for their strong second half and their Croky Cup run ended in the quarterfinals.

Anderlecht: Wellenreuther - Murillo, Miazga, Cobbaut, Mykhailichenko - Sambi Lokonga, Cullen, Mukairu (61' Bruun Larsen), Amuzu - Diaby (61' Dauda), Nmecha (73' Verschaeren)

Cercle Bruges: Bruzzese - Decostere, Marcelin, Bates, Taravel, Corryn (61' Biancone) - Kanouté (61' Hotic), Van Der Bruggen, Vanhoutte (61' Deman) - Denkey, Musaba (77' Ugbo)

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Cercle have now made it two wins in a row in what was a second vital match in the relegation battle. Leonardo Da Silva Lopes and substitute Kévin Denkey gave the Groen-Zwart all three points with two well-taken goals, which means that Cercle extended their lead over Waasland-Beveren to four points.

Except for an early chance for the visitors through Frey, which did not cause much trouble for Didillon, it took some time for the match to settle. The Groen-Zwart did not start the game very well and were sometimes caught in possession as a result. Just before the half hour mark, though, Cercle threatened for the first time and it immediately resulted in a goal. From more than 25 meters out Da Silva Lopes struck the ball wonderfully, finding the top left corner. A minute later, Cercle were at it again, but Deman's attempt ended up in the side netting. Waasland-Beveren then took the upper hand in the final part of the first half, although the visitors could not convert that domination into any quality opportunities.

Ike Ugbo, the Groen-Zwart's top scorer, had a chance early in the second half to put Cercle ahead 2-0. After a lovely bit of combination play, the striker was in on goal but his attempt didn't find the target. At the other end, Frey fired over from close range. In terms of the quality of football on display, Cercle and Waasland-Beveren did not offer up the best match, but the intensity remained high. Nevertheless, Cercle had some excellent opportunities, but Biancone, Ugbo and Hotic  failed to convert any of these chances. The substitute Denkey, however, immediately showed himself to be very active and saw his efforts, as they had like last week in Mouscron, soon pay off. After a fie bit of dribbling, he slotted the ball into the net just past the reach of Gabriel. Denkey even found the net a second time, but was just offside on the play. The visitors could no longer have hope of getting a result, and, Cercle's defense knew what it had to do with the crosses that came their way. In addition to what are three vital points, this team can also rest easy having recorded another clean sheet, their second in three league matches.

Cercle: Didillon, Biancone, Marcelin, Bates, Pavlovic, Vitinho, Da Silva Lopes (70' Van der Bruggen), Hoggas (70' Vanhoutte), Hotic (87' Decostere), Deman (77' Denkey) and Ugbo (87' Musaba).

Waasland-Beveren: Gabriel, Bastians, Vukotic, Wuytens, Leuko, Bertone, Faucher (65' Heymans), Albanese (22' Cijntje), Wuytens, Nilsen (65' Heymans), Koita (83' Schryvers) and Frey.

Goals: Da Silva Lopes 30' (1-0), Denkey 82' (2-0)

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Matchday 27 promised to be a big occasion for the Groen-Zwart, who went away to Mouscron. With a win for Cercle, both teams finished the match on the same number of points and Cercle moved ahead of Waasland Beveren, who were to play Charleroi later in the evening. Ugbo headed home after 13 minutes, and that remained the score for a long time. Denkey made it 0-2 close to full time, but Lepoint was able to make the end of the match nervy with a consolation goal.

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A good effort by Cercle nets a scoreless draw against Anderlecht

After a good collective performance, Cercle took a point against Anderlecht. Although perhaps  to say they were stuck on a point is more appropriate: after all, the Groen-Zwart was the more dangerous team and hardly gave any chances away. Moreover, the hosts came close to scoring both before and after the interval. Halfway through the second half, as well, Ugbo was flagged just offside when he poked the ball home. With the point earned this evening, Cercle edges a point closer to Mouscron for the time being, a week before an important trip to face Le Cannonier.

The Groen-Zwart started the game in fine fettle and immediately created a big chance through their collective play. Hoggas took the ball from Deman in midfield, passed his man and then came close to opening the scoring. Due to Cercle's good pressure, it took a while for the visitors to get into their normal rhythm of combination play. However, organization was well established for Cercle, which meant that the Purple & White were able to get little or nothing playing on the break. Cercle did offer some good combination play themselves, but only a cautious chance from Hoggas, which did not yield much either. Halfway through the match, the score was a more than logical 0-0.

Even after the break, the first chance came from Hoggas but the midfielder's shot took a deflection and went wide. Cercle took the initiative and came close to the opening goal via a good run from Pavlovic, and some good passing from Vitinho. When Ugbo was finally able slot home halfway through the second half, Cercle's efforts finally seemed to be paying off. However, the striker was offside by a narrow margin, a fact which had not escaped VAR. The Groen-Zwart almost immediately were pegged back, but Trebel's free kick crashed off the crossbar. Both managers tried to take the lead by making a few offensive changes, but none that would bring any great opportunities to pass. The match ended a scoreless draw, one in which Cercle perhaps received too little credit for their hard work. That said, Cercle can take with it from the result the necessary positive elements from the match heading into an important pair of matches in the relegation battle.

Cercle: Didillon, Biancone, Marcelin, Bates, Pavlovic, Vitinho, Da Silva Lopes, Hoggas, Deman (78 'Musaba), Ugbo (83' Somers) and Hotic (87 'Denkey).

Anderlecht: Wellenreuther, Murillo, Delcroix, Miazga, Lawrence, El Hadj (60 'Trebel), Sambi Lokonga, Cullen, Amuzu (72' Dauda), Nmecha (72 'Diaby) and Bruun Larsen ('46 Mukairu).

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The Groen-Zwart deservedly won a derby in the cup between Cercle and KV Oostende! The visitors had taken the lead within half an hour, but a quick equalizer by Deman and goals by Denkey and Ugbo after the break resulted in well-earned progress for Cercle to the quarterfinals of the Croky Cup. The remarkable result saw Vanderhaeghe give several players who have played less this season the opportunity to show themselves in this cup match and the manager was rewarded with a show of excellent commitment and a deserved victory.

After a cautious start to the match from both the sides, the first real moment of danger came from the visitors. Bataille broke forward down the right and cut the ball back to Kvasina, but Bruzzese was in the right place. At the second big chance, though, KVO did manage to open the scoring. After Cercle lost the ball, Gueye Bätzner broke well to slot the ball past Bruzzese. However, the lead of KV Oostende did not last long. A few minutes later, Deman got the ball in the box, and then clinically tapped the ball past Hubert, beating a pack of defenders in the process. Cercle continued its strong momentum and had two more good chances in the first half. It was no coincidence that the industrious Deman continued to be involved, but the young player scuffed his side's greatest chance against Hubert.

After the break we continued to be presented with an attractive cup match. The game swung back and forth  well, with opportunities on both sides. The first moment of danger came from the Groen-Zwart, but Deman could not get the cross from Lopes De Silva past Hubert. Hjulsager was then picked out in the middle at the other end, but the visitors' effort was well stopped by Bruzzese. Sakala then went one on one with Bruzzese, but once again the Cercle goalkeeper showed himself to be the strongest.

Halfway through the second half, there was at last another goal. An excellent cross from Hoggas was headed in by Denkey, beating Hubert. Oostende were finding it increasingly difficult to get forward with any level of consistency, and it was eventually Cercle who decided the match definitively via the substitute Ugbo: Somers, who had also came on, sent a long ball up to the striker, who was able to make it three, slotting the ball just inside the post. Immediately thereafter, the end of the match came and with it the cup run for KV Oostende, while Cercle are through to the quarterfinals, a great boost for this group of players in what has been a difficult period.

Cercle: Bruzzese, Biancone, Bates, Pavlovic, Velkovski, Kanouté (78’ Vanhoutte), Deuro (66’ Van der Bruggen), Da Silva, Hoggas, Deman (78’ Somers), and Denkey (89’ Ugbo).

KV Oostende: Hubert, Theate, Tanghe (72’ Thiam), Capon, Bataille, D’Haese (Ndicka), D’Arpino (61’ Vandendriessche), Bätzner (61’ Marquet), Hjulsager, Kvasina and Gueye (46’ Sakala).

Goals: 30’ Bätzner (Gueye), 32’ Deman (Denkey), 64’ Denkey (Hoggas), 90’ Ugbo (Somers).

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