Club Brugge is putting Union and Anderlecht under pressure after a hard-fought win over Antwerp


Club Brugge remains invincible in the Champions’ Play-Offs: Antwerp now defeated its own Bosuil (1-2) after an intense top match. De Cuyper and Skov Olsen scored the goals, Balikwisha made it even more exciting. At 6:30 PM, Club will quietly watch to see who will be the big challenger in the title battle: Union or Anderlecht?

The opulence at Club Brugge is great: Nicky Hayen once again clearly hinted that at the Bosuil. Compared to the match at Fiorentina, no fewer than six new names appeared in the starting line-up. And not the least. Mignolet, for example, who quickly had to box a seething shot from Ejuke from his cage. Antwerp had started like a fury: after three (!) seconds Janssen already took the yellow card after a big hit on Onyedika. Cutting off Club’s legs immediately and playing the physical card, that seemed to be the plan. But Blue-Black remained calm and took matters into their own hands after about ten minutes.

Mignolet saves Club

Did that provide great opportunities? Not quite. A dangerous deviation from Vanaken after a corner briefly caused panic in the Antwerp sixteen, not much later Lammens grabbed a shot from Nusa after a miss in the back. Antwerp clearly left the ball to Club and kept it compact. Blauw-zwart had all the trouble in the world to find holes. Skov Olsen – first starter since March 10 – barely featured in the piece, Thiago was also kept in check. Nusa did get the ball a lot, but generally did little with it.

In the meantime, Club had to watch out for Antwerp counters. Just before half time, Janssen suddenly came face to face with Mignolet, who kept the Dutchman with a hand on the sixteenth of the opening goal. The ex-Red Devil had already defused a shot from Alderweireld and thus showed himself to the better Bruges team before half-time. For those who still had doubts: Club doesn’t exactly have a problem in goal.

Photo: BELGA

Ordonez makes it exciting

It could all have been a bit more after the break. A goal was supposed to explode the match. And just like in Genk, the penny fell on the Bruges side. Thiago sent De Cuyper to the back line with a clever tap, and his cross fluttered past a bewildered Lammens via the foot of Alderweireld. Club ahead after a lucky goal. Again. The scenario seemed like a copy of last weekend’s. At the Bosuil, the home fans stepped up their game: while blue-black blood smelled, the decibels in the stands rose. And this in the hope of averting a defeat against their arch-rival.

Van Bommel made a triple substitution: Kerk, Balikwisha and Yusuf came. The signal for a crazy four minutes. A sharp cross from Kerk was missed by a toenail, but in the next phase Skov Olsen countered to make it 0-2. The Dane cleverly pushed the ball into the far corner in his well-known style. Played a match? Not at all, because a minute later Ordonez hung on Balikwisha. Vergoote pointed to the spot: the substitute was allowed to convert the penalty himself. Antwerp suddenly completely back in the game.

No second penalty

Now Hayen brought two fresh forces: Skoras and Zinckernagel came to relieve the two Bruges wing attackers for the last quarter of the match. And that turned into a game of chess. Club tried to play football for results, Antwerp was waiting for the counter-attack with its fast guys. And if it became annoying for blue-black: De Cuyper got away well when he launched a tackle on Kerk in the box. Vergoote did not see a penalty, nor did the VAR.

Five minutes of injury time made no changes to the scoreboard: Club Brugge won the play-offs for the sixth (!) time in a row and (for the time being) jumps to the top of the rankings. Union and Anderlecht will soon be allowed to decide in a mutual match who will be the biggest title challenger.

Photo: BELGA

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Club Brugge putting Union Anderlecht pressure hardfought win Antwerp


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