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Cercle win 2-1 in Sint-Truiden to make it three straight!

In the first half, Cercle dominated in Stayen, but fine work by goalkeeper Steppe kept the home team level. After the break, Edgaras Utkus was able to quickly give Cercle the lead, but in conceding a penalty he was also responsible for the Canaries' quick equalizer. Rabbi Matondo then made it 1-2 fifteen minutes from time and Cercle, playing with ten men, remained in the lead in a chaotic final stanza.

Dominik Thalhammer had no reason to tinker with his team and so the same eleven started what was now a third league match in a row. Thomas Didillon had to be attentive to a through ball from De Ridder towards Suzuki in the opening minutes, but that was also the most difficult situation for our goalkeeper in the first half. Cercle pinned the home team back, but their advantage produced only a few corner kicks as a result of some sloppy play.

It took 20 minutes before the first shot on target would be seen. Hannes Van der Bruggen's effort was half blocked by a defender and would easily be claimed by Steppe. It was, however the signal of a strong period of play for Cercle, who generated some excellent chances. Both Olivier Deman and Rabbi Matondo would reach Steppe's goal, but the home goalkeeper always intervened. Matondo also turned Leistner, but he found no outlet in front of goal. In the closing minutes of the first half, the home team would have a little more control over the match, but Didillon still had little to do.

Cercle continued to force the issue at the start of the second half and Edgaras Utkus broke the deadlock by heading in a corner from Dino Hotic (0-1, 50'). Cercle would not enjoy the lead for long, however; a throw-in was headed on to Suzuki, who quickly turned before being tripped by Utkus' outstretched leg before Brüls calmly converted the penalty (1-1 58').

Shortly afterwards Didillon had to turn a long shot from Brüls behind for a corner, but then Cercle took command of the match. Da Silva Lopes should have done better after Steppe's hesitant goalkeeping, but our midfielder's effort was over the bar. The home attack then responded through, again, a quick throw-in. Hara cut the ball back for Suzuki, but his effort was cleverly cleared by Didillon. Then, when Hannes Van der Bruggen picked out Matondo with a long ball, our Welsh attacker used his pace to beat the defence. Alone against Steppe, Rabbi remained cool and gave Cercle the lead again at the start of the final quarter of an hour (1-2, 75').

In an exciting conclusion, the home team continued to pump the ball forward. Cercle survived a few scares, but then had to finish with 10 men after, in stoppage time, Matondo was sent off for a second yellow card. After the announced six minutes of stoppage time, the home team earned a corner. Cacace had the ball in the net and had seemed to give the home team a point at the death. However, VAR intervened and determined that Suzuki had interfered with Didillon from an offside position. Referee Kevin Van Damme was called to watch the video, but ultimately chalked off the goal. The final whistle followed shortly afterwards and the celebrations could probably be heard as far away as Bruges.

Lineups:

Sint-Truiden: Steppe, Hashioka (Cacace 81'), Buatu, Leistner, Lavalée (Teixeira 89'), Koita, Konaté, De Ridder (Reitz 89'), Brüls, Suzuki and Hara

Cercle: Didillon, Decostere (Vitinho 80' ), Utkus (Sousa 64'), Daland, Velkovski, Van der Bruggen, Da Silva Lopes, Hotic (Vanhoutte 80), Matondo, Deman (Millàn 64') and Somers

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