In the Round of 16 of the Croky Cup, our Groen-Zwart were away to KV Mechelen. At AFAS Stadium, Somers had given us the lead before half-time. Despite a strong display from Warleson, Malinois equalized just after the hour. The match went to extra time and Storm provided the match winner for the Kakkers with a goal deep in the second half of extra time.
Cercle started the match with several changes, playing a 4-4-2 formation under Muslic and Dewulf. It was therefore a bit of a wait to see how this much-changed side would connect with each other.
Things would work out well in that regard, although Mechelen were clearly keen to change things up after having lost the league match. Both teams kept each other in check for a long time, with only half chances for both sides. After 35 minutes, though, Thibo Somers would find the opening goal. Hotic launched a free kick towards the goal, and Thoelen came off his line but did not reach the ball, which wasn't cleared from the box. After a few scuffed attempts to clear the ball, it fell to the Cercle striker, who did not hesitate to give the Groen-Zwart the lead.
Mechelen immediately tried to respond, but were denied by a strong performance from goalkeeper Warleson. After the break, the Malinois increased the pressure even further, and the Groen-Zwart were forced to sit deeper under the pressure from Mechelen, but remained calm in defense as they waited to spring a rare counter-attack.
Cercle would continue to count on a strong Warleson who dived at Cuypers' feet to clear a cross. After a foul, it was the end of the match for the young striker from Mechelen, and the vastly experienced De Camargo replaced him. The former Belgian international was on the pitch then, when Schoofs fired a powerful shot from distance. Warleson could only tip the ball onto the post and it came back into play, to the feet of the substitute and he brought the hosts level.
For a moment, Mechelen seemed ready to push on for a winner, but the Groen-Zwart restored the balance and the match went to extra time. The further half hour looked to be for nothing, as both teams were clearly not at their best, until Nikola Storm tried a bit of skill two minutes before the final whistle. Cutting inside from just outside the area and then beating his marker, his shot was fired hard into the far corner. With this late goal, the Malinois narrowly avoided a penalty shootout and the cup campaign for our Groen-Zwart is now over, despite a creditable performance.
Cercle: Warleson, Vitinho (Velkovski 96'), Sousa, Daland, Decostere, Waldo (Deman 39', Ackx 110'), Kanouté, Vanhoutte (Cassaert 69'), Hotic (Lopes Da Silva 69'), Millàn and Somers (Sampers 91')
Mechelen: Thoelen, Bateau, Walsh (Swers 81'), Storm (Kaya 119'), Cuypers (De Camargo 62'), Schoofs, Oum Gouet, Van Hoorenbeeck, Mrabti (Engvall 106'), Vanlerberghe (Shved 43') and Vinicius Souza