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After a strong first half, Cercle seemed set to go into the break with the lead, but an unfortunate goal shortly before the break brought a previously uninspired home team back into the game. The Carolos scored again shortly after the break and then held off the Groen-Zwart well. Cercle would head home with a bitter defeat, because it could certainly have claimed more.
An eager Cercle immediately took control of the game and immediately forced the Charleroi goalkeeper to make a much-needed intervention. Charleroi could not escape the pressure of the Groen-Zwart, as attempts from Da Silva and Denkey went just wide. Shortly before the half hour, the Association's work would pay off. After a long throw-in, the ball landed at Vanhoutte's feet, and he fired the ball home past Marcq. The home team did not make much of a response against a very strong Cercle for a long time, but it regularly posed a threat through attacking down the flank after the opening goal. A cross from Kayembe was only just missed by Mbenza, and the equalizer would come shortly before the break. After an unfortunate deflection in their own box, the ball came via Zorgane to the feet of Mbenza, who pegged back Cercle.
Charleroi came out of the dressing room with a different face and immediately forced a series of corner kicks. Substitute Hosseinzadeh climbed the highest after one such corner and immediately gave Charleroi the lead. The lead gave Charleroi the necessary energy, and Cercle needed a moment to recover from this blow. The Groen-Zwart tried to reclaim the initiative, but found no gap in the Carolos' defence, and set pieces also yielded little. There was almost a goal for the other side, but goalkeeper Majecki had a great reaction to both Kayembe's shot and Badji's effort from the rebound. Coach Muslic played his last card by playing Marcelin as a big and strong header of the ball in attack. Ueda was almost able to force the equalizer in extra time, but goalkeeper Koffi kept Charleroi ahead as the rebound was also blocked.
With this defeat, Cercle again did not receive a just reward for their work, as they Cercle should have earned more, especially based on the first half.
Charleroi: Koffi, Bager, Boukamir, Kayembe, Ilaimaharitra, Gholazideh (Hosseinzadeh 46'), Zorgane, Heymans (Badji 72'), Marcq, Nkuba (Tchatchoua 88') and Mbenza (Descotte 79').
Cercle: Majecki, Popovic, Daland, Miangue, Vanhoutte (Marcelin 88'), Da Silva (Francis 72'), Deman, Somers, Hotic (Gboho 72'), Ueda and Denkey.
Goals: Marcq (27', 0-1 (OG)), Mbenza (44', 1-1) Hosseinzadeh (51', 1-2)
Although Cercle went into halftime with a deserved 0-1 lead after an early goal and a strong first half, it had to fight to stay in the game after the break. A second yellow card for Deman shortly after the break turned the game around and after Storm's equalizer, the home team looked poised to take the upper hand. Majecki kept Cercle level with a penalty save and the nine outfield players also fought for all they were worth, resulting in a hard-fought point.
After barely three minutes, Cercle created the first chance. Ravych recovered the ball and Francis, who was in for the suspended Da Silva, found Denkey perfectly with a long ball. The striker did not hesitate and immediately gave our Groen-Zwart the lead. The home team had a hard time with Cercle's high press and often lost the ball. Cercle were the most dangerous team in the first part of the match, but Denkey was just short of reaching the ball in the box twice. The VAR then saw no foul after a challenge on Francis in the box. Under Storm's leadership, KVM tried to change the course of the game, but it was Daland who would come closest to scoring. His shot would only just be pushed away for a corner kick by Coucke. The home team started to threaten more and more then, and Storm's shot would even hit the crossbar. However, it was Hotic who found the net at the other end after a quick counter. VAR had seen a foul in the build-up by Denkey, which meant that the Groen-Zwart took a 0-1 lead at the interval.
Cercle also started strongest after the break. With Ueda and Vanhoutte taking the initiative, it came close to a goal twice. But when Deman received a second yellow card in the 53rd minute, Cercle had to finish the match a man down. The home side pressed hard and forced a series of chances. An industrious display from Storm saw him score the equalizer from outside the box in the 71st minute. KVM pressed on for a winner, and Somers had to help his goalkeeper to prevent another goal. After the intervention of the VAR, the home team would receive a penalty. However, Majecki saved substitute Malede's effort from the spot. Cercle had a hard time and got away with a bit of luck when Storm hit the crossbar a second time. No more clear opportunities would follow, though, and Cercle would take home a hard-fought point.
KV Mechelen: Coucke, Bijker (Van Hoorenbeeck 65'), Walsh, Lavalee, Bates, Hairemans (Malede 65’), Schoofs, Verstraete, Storm, Da Cruz and Mrabti (Soelle Soelle 90').
Cercle: Majecki, Popovic, Ravych, Daland, Vanhoutte, Deman, Somers, Francis, Hotic (Miangue 57'), Ueda (Kehrer 67') & Denkey (Decostere 92')
Goals: Denkey (0-1, 3'), Storm (1-1, 71')
We are 17 match days into the Jupiler Pro League season. It's an ideal moment to take stock of the situation now that the competition is on hold until the third week of December due to the World Cup break. With 25 points, Cercle can look back on a successful first half of the season. Cercle have won more times (7) than they have lost (6), but their recent run of 19 points from 24 available was especially impressive.
Since Cercle changed coaches after the draw against KV Oostende, only Genk (24 out of 24) and Union (21 out of 24) have picked up more points than our Groen-Zwart (19 out of 24). Since then, Cercle also has the third-best attack in the competition (after Genk and Union) with 19 goals scored. It has also been solid defensively: Cercle have only conceded nine goals over the past eight matchdays and thus have the fourth best defense in the country (after Genk, Union and Ghent).