Ghent wins the European Play-offs in Mechelen and can dream of European football

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KV Mechelen

KAA Ghent

  1. 16′ – Cont. Norman Bassette by Islam Slimani
  2. 19′ – Goal – Geoffry Hairemans (1 – 0)
  3. 25′ – Goal – Matias Fernandez (1 – 1)
  4. 31′ – Yellow – Sandy Walsh
  5. 32′ – Goal – Islam Slimani (2 – 1)
  6. 41′ – Yellow – Daam Foulon
  7. 42′ – Goal – Stefan Mitrovic (2 – 2)
  8. 45+4′ – Goal – Tarik Tissoudali (2 – 3)
  1. 69′ – Cont. Geoffry Hairemans by Patrick Pflücke
  2. 69′ – Cont. Nikola Storm by Bilal Bafdili
  3. 83′ – Cont. Hong Hyun Seok by Andrew Hjulsager
  4. 85′ – Cont. Sandy Walsh by Boli Bolingoli Mbombo
  5. 85′ – Cont. Daam Foulon by Lion Lauberbach
  6. 86′ – Goal – Andrew Hjulsager (2 – 4)
  7. 90+3′ – Cont. Tarik Tissoudali by Laurent Depoitre

Jupiler Pro League – matchday 7 – 04/05/24 – 6:15 PM

time icon player homeTime homeIcon homePlayer score awayPlayer awayIcon awayTime

19′

Geoffrey Hairemans

19′

Geoffrey Hairemans

1 – 0

25′

Matias Fernandez

1 – 1

Matias Fernandez

25′

32′

Islam Slimani

32′

Islam Slimani

2 – 1

42′

Stefan Mitrovic

2 – 2

Stefan Mitrovic

42′

45+4′

Tarik Tissoudali

2 – 3

Tarik Tissoudali

45+4′

86′

Andrew Hjulsager

2 – 4

Andrew Hjulsager

86′

KAA Gent has fully lived up to its role of favorite in the Europe Play-offs. Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s team is certain of the final victory after a big victory on the field of KV Mechelen. For a moment the visitors were in a dire situation, but after a goal fair before half time, Ghent was still allowed to dream of European football next season.

KV Mechelen – Ghent in a nutshell:

  • Key moment: After chasing for almost an entire half, Tarik Tissoudali gave Ghent the lead just before half-time. At an ideal moment, after a very difficult half for Ghent. But KV Mechelen shot itself in the foot and would not overcome the deficit in the second half.
  • Man of the match: Tarik Tissoudali has found his form in the right phase of the competition. With an assist he reversed a deficit, with his goal he provided the final lead.
  • Winner of the Europe Play-offs: With three matchdays to go, KAA Gent is certain of a win in PO 2. It increases its lead over KV Mechelen to 9 points and because it finished the regular competition ahead of its closest competitor, KV Mechelen can no longer overcome the Buffalos with an equal number of points. seesaw. It remains to be seen who will be Ghent’s opponent in the jump-off duel for the last European ticket.

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“Job done,” said KAA Gent’s Twitter channel after the final whistle. Without too much joy, without too much relief.

And yet Ghent does it. It fully lives up to its favorite status and wins the Europe Play-offs.

Even after a difficult match against perhaps the toughest opponent in PO 2: KV Mechelen.

In the first half, the top match in those play-offs looked like a tennis match. It went so up and down that you had to move your head from left to right the whole time.

Goal fair in the first half

Hairemans opened the scoring fair with a strong curl that he shook from his golden left hand on a falling ball. KV Mechelen capitalized on the better start to the match.

But efficient Ghent scored almost immediately with the first real chance. Fernandez-Pardo easily tapped Tissoudali’s pass, which came after Garananga missed his interception, into the goal: 1-1.

The home team remained the better team in terms of football and the equalizer did not stay on the scoreboard for long. Slimani, who had come on for the injured Bassette, buffed a good cross from Mrabti at the far post into the goal: 2-1. KV Mechelen deserved the lead again.

And yet Ghent came alongside again. On a free kick, Thoelen collided with Garananga, which meant that the KV Mechelen goalkeeper could not clear the ball properly, but Mitrovic did, in an empty Mechelen goal.

And just before half-time, Ghent even took the lead. Tissoudali punished further losses of ball by the Mechelen defense by putting the 2-3 lead on the scoreboard face to face with Thoelen. KV Mechelen shot itself in the foot several times, Ghent took full advantage of it.

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Extra nice return for Hjulsager

As open as the first half was, the second half was as closed. Mitrovic nodded the ball against the post at the start, after Watanabe headed back a free kick. But what followed was mainly midfield play, a searching KV Mechelen and a well-organized AA Gent.

There was only room for a story within a story: Andrew Hjulsager celebrated his return after more than 5 months of injuries and did so in style. Without hesitation, he put the 2-4 final score on the scoreboard from a distant position.

With this he sealed the fate of KV Mechelen in the Europe Play-offs and also the fate of KAA Gent. With the victory in PO 2 in his pocket, he will now keep an eye on how the Champions’ Play-offs turn out and who will finish fourth. Because that will be Ghent’s only remaining hurdle on the way to the second qualifying round of the Conference League.

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Vanhaezebrouck: “Anyone who does not yield will not play the jump-off match”

  • Hein Vanhaezebrouck (trainer Ghent): “To be honest, I restrained myself not to change before half time. I was absolutely not satisfied with my players. We had to get balance in the team, change some things tactically. Today there were very few who were at the same level in the first Second half was a big difference. Okay, we let them have the ball, but they didn’t create anything anymore too, but you also have to finish them. We’re going to give the boys some rhythm and they have 3 weeks to show themselves. Anyone who doesn’t play in those three matches simply won’t start in the jump-off match more players fit. I hope that I will see some things in those three matches and maybe go there with an even better flow.”

Hasi: “We never got over the last match day in the regular competition”

  • Besnik Hasi (coach KVM): “We played a strong first half with the ball, but not without the ball. And I think the referee was not up to standard either. He draws a yellow card for Walsh, while Gandelman is late on him. We give the three goals away, they didn’t create anything. It’s a shame that you just give that away. In the first half we could easily find our backs, but in the second half they took that away. I think Bassette has a muscle tear, for him this season perhaps done. The progress the team has made in the game is enormous. That is fantastic. We never got over the last defeat at OHL and they have done everything for it. “
  • Andrew Hjulsager (Ghent): “I’m happy that I can finally score again after that long period. I had an overload, but I couldn’t get rid of it. It was frustrating to come here to the club without playing football. Now I’ve been training for a month and a half and I’m back in better shape. I hope I can get more minutes now.”
  • Tarik Tissoudali (Ghent): “Wasn’t our best game. Mechelen away is always difficult. And now you don’t play well and you still win, so that’s what happened. If we improve our quality a little more, we could completely destroy this team. The most important thing is the three points.”
  • Rob Schoofs (KV Mechelen): “I think we played a very good first half, but it’s a shame that we are behind at halftime. That’s shooting yourself in the foot, I can’t put it any other way. Just like there, in Ghent, by the way. I don’t think that We can blame ourselves a lot. Now we will try to win three more games, even if first place is no longer possible.”

Phase by phase

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