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Cercle and Standard battle to a draw (1-1)

After a bitter defeat in Oostende, Cercle went in search of points at home against Standard Liege. Bastien gave the Rouches the lead early on, but Daland canceled the opener on 15 minutes, and no more goals were scored after the interval.

Yves Vanderhaeghe made two changes, with Hotic and Matondo on after having not started at Oostende. Utkus was serving a one-match suspension (5 yellow cards) and Charles Vanhoutte was on the bench.

Cercle tried to continue with the same energy as against KVO and attacked from kick-off. They were caught cold, however, when Standard's first chance, after just three minutes, fell to Bastien who dribbled around the edge of the area and curled the ball into the far corner, just out of Didillon's reach.

The Groen-Zwart increased the tempo even further and were putting Standard under pressure. Al-Dakhil saw the ball come off his arm in the fifteenth minute in a duel with Millàn and was rightly booked. Hotic stood over the free kick, and it was heading in, just under the crossbar, but Bodart got a hand to it and the ball caromed off the crossbar and back into play. Daland was the first to the rebound and put Cercle level in the 16th minute.

Cercle Brugge KSV

There was no reason to make any changes during halftime and so the same 22 players came out for for the second half, and the Groen-Zwart remained the most attacking team. Just before the hour, Vitinho sent in a ball in front of goal from the right, where Somers climbed higher than his defender at the far post. He aimed his header well, getting it on target, but Bodart pulled off a great save and Millàn couldn't quite reach the rebound.

Cercle remained the best team, but it could not keep up their pressing which had been so key in the first half, and neither side was able to create much. At the start of the last 10 minutes, Hotic delivered a free kick to Millàn at the back post. He was able to nod the ball towards goal, again to Da Silva Lopes, who had to go stretch a little too much to be able to put any power on his header; this allowed Bodart to claim the ball quite easily.

Coach Vanderhaeghe then brought on some fresh faces, with Denkey, Deman and Velkovski on in the last five minutes, and the Groen-Zwart launched a final offensive. Bodart kept the hosts at bay, though, and both teams had to be content with a point.

Cercle: Didillon - Corryn, Sousa, Daland, Vitinho - Van der Bruggen, Da Silva Lopes, Hotic (Velkovski 85') - Matondo (Vanhoutte 92'), Somers (Deman 87') and Millàn (Denkey 87').

Standard: Bodart, Siquet, Al-Dakhil, Dusenne, Dragus (Pavlovic 73'), Klauss (Muleka 87'), Rafia (Carcela 62'), Nkounkou, Tapsoba, Raskin and Bastien

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For Cercle, with Utkus, Waldo, Matondo and the suspended Da Silva Lopes, some key names were missing, but with the home team it was a lot more difficult to string together a starting eleven due to a raft of COVID infections. The hosts compensated for their lack of experience with a lot of enthusiasm and were able to make life difficult for Cercle for long stretches of time. Only in the final quarter of an hour would Cercle strike via Somers and Hotic and thus bring back the result.

Dino Hotic's corner kicks have been a guarantee of chances in recent months and such a corner formed the basis of the first chance of the match after 10 minutes, but Daland's header was cleared off the line by a Eupen defender. Cercle often tried to play quickly, using long balls over the top, but Agbadou and his fellow defenders kept the Cercle attack at bay. Thibo Somers would try his luck with a shot from range, but Himmelmann did well to keep it out.

Both teams struggled to keep the ball and chances remained scarce in the first half. Keita also tried his luck from distance, but his shot was no problem for Didillon. Just before half-time there was a chance when Olivier Deman headed a curling cross over the bar, but Himmelmann again had the situation under control.

Cercle started the second half sharply with an effort by Millàn and a huge chance for Senna Miangue. At the other end, Didillon had to clear a shot by Magnée over the bar. Kevin Denkey came on for Millàn just before the hour and impressed immediately. Agbadou blocked his shot before Thibo Somers fired his fine cross over.

The home team became more and more physical in the last quarter hour, but in the end it was a long throw that was the basis of the opening goal. Lambert's headed clearance came off the back of his teammate Amat and Somers reacted the fastest, hitting a volley that left Himmelmann no chance (77' 0-1). Cercle pushed on and a few minutes later the referee pointed to the spot after Magnée had fouled Olivier Deman. Dino Hotic kept his cool and doubled the lead for Cercle (0-2 81'). The home team's resistance was now broken and Cercle were still looking for a third goal. Somers' shot was blocked by a home defender and Kevin Denkey spent too long on the ball in stoppage time. The match thus ended 0-2, a logical result for Cercle, who continue its good form even after the win!

Lineups:


Eupen: Himmelmann, Beck, Amat, Agbadou, Gnaka, Nanah (Essahel 70'), Lambert, Magnée (Sternon 85'), Déom (Offermann 72'), Keita, N'Dri (Embaló 85')


Cercle: Didillon, Decostere (Vitinho 46'), Popovic, Daland, Miangue, Van Der Bruggen, Vanhoutte (Kanouté 86'), Hotic, Deman (Sousa 82'), Millàn (Denkey 57') and Somers

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The Groen-Zwart triumph in the Bruges Derby! (2-0)

Matchday 21 was one played without supporters, something which made for very unfortunate circumstances for the Groen-Zwart as Boxing Day saw them welcome Club Brugge in the Bruges Derby. Cercle showed the best of themselves, though, and it didn't let the visitors get into their game. Early in the second half, Miangue gave Cercle the lead and just before full time, Sousa doubled it on a pass from the outstanding Matondo.

Cercle coach Thalhammer had some work to do for this Bruges Derby. After the away game against league leaders Union, he was missing the suspended pair of Daland and Lopes Da Silva, and the game came too early for a return on the part the injured Utkus. As a result, the defense consisted of Popovic and Sousa, who were flanked by Miangue, replacing Velkovsky. In the midfield, Vanhoutte was in the starting lineup alongside captain Van der Bruggen.

In a good first half it was an enthusiastic Cercle that had the best chances. Deman seemingly had the opening goal at his mercy but Mechele and Sobol kept him from scoring. His fellow striker Somers was also able to get a shot away, but Mignolet would keep things scoreless heading into the break. Club, for their part, were not able to get to grips with the game, even though Didillon had to tip a powerful shot by Vanaken over his goal on a pass from De Ketelaere.

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