With a 12 out of 12, Club Brugge has erased its missed start. And with four goals against fellow city rivals Cercle, including one from debutant Roman Yaremchuk, it can confidently face the Champions League. Will Leverkusen be the ax soon?
It was a first half full of clumsiness. A corner that blew far over everything and everyone, a throw-in that was still wrong after fifteen seconds of delay, balls that were stamped high in their own goal area… For a Bruges derby it can be a bit more.
Calling Cercle defender Marcelin’s tackle a clumsiness would be euphemistic. He was not going to break the record of Ibrahima Seck – who once got a red card after 22 seconds, but after seven minutes his first game of the season should have been over. His stretched leg towards Nielsen’s knee deserved red, but referee Visser and VAR Smet awarded him yellow.
No Mata Wednesday?
Cercle was the fastest out of the starting blocks. A shot from Denkey, a lob from Hotic: the diminutives show that there were no great chances, but the ‘visitors’ did embarrass the Club defense a number of times. And before Club created something itself, we were already twenty minutes away. Nielsen deviated the cross from compatriot Skov Olsen with a heel, but too weak to alarm goalkeeper Majecki. We understand that Carl Hoefkens had opted for his winning team from Charleroi, but he soon regretted leaving his record purchases Onyedika and Yaremchuk on the bench…
Hoefkens also intervened for peace, but out of sheer necessity. Denkey had kicked Mata on the ankle rather clumsily and although the defender tried to swallow the pain, he couldn’t go any further. In view of the Champions League opener against Leverkusen, that does not look good.
Boyata warmed up, but it was surprising Onyedika came in to replace Mata – Odoi moved back a row. The 21-year-old Nigerian midfielder could have just as easily played the Milan derby in San Siro today, as AC pushed for him too, but he himself preferred Club and thus made his debut in Jan Breydel. He immediately showed himself offensively, with a fine pass in the course of Skov Olsen. He could only go for goal, but missed his shot completely.
We are not used to that from the Dane, but he made up for it in the end. This time with an assist from Jutgla, he again chose to finish with his supposedly lesser but in reality great judge. And this time he hit right across the corner. A classic, that Skov – soon to be admired at the World Cup.
Despite the deficit, we also saw a sharper Cercle just after the break and it was 1-1 in no time. After Sylla’s missteps, Denkey was able to lash out and his kick stroked the far post. A warning that Club took to heart. Skov Olsen was sent off once more and his cross – yes, with the right, yes – was scored in an own goal by Marcelin. If only they had excluded me, the poor man thought.
The 2-0 was the signal for Hoefkens to give players a rest towards Wednesday. Together with Jutgla, the match winner went to the side, in their place Nusa and Yaremchuk came. All eyes were of course on the 16 million man, the most expensive purchase ever in Belgium, but keep an eye on that barely 17-year-old Norwegian talent this season… Both were immediately involved in the 3-0. Thanks to Yaremchuk, Nusa was able to advance and lay wide until Nielsen, who scored simply. For the midfielder already his third goal for blue-black, his first now at home.
By making his own first, albeit with some luck, Yaremchuk completed the party. 4-0: heavy numbers, but ideal for Club, which fuels the necessary confidence. Whether that will be enough to stop top players such as Moussa Diaby and Patrik Schick remains to be seen.