Cercle Brugge managed to beat Sint-Truiden on the penultimate match day of the regular season. It took a penalty kick, two nicely played counterattacks and a lot of resilience to do so. Ueda (twice) and Denkey were the goalscorers for Cerlce, who are now in eighth place, level with Charleroi, so the last round of the season will decide who goes into the Europe Play-Offs.
Cercle put pressure on Charleroi and Anderlecht after a 3-1 win against STVV!
It was a vital match against STVV. The fans in attendance - unlike in past home games - did not see a blitzkrieg from the start. This was facilitated by the fact that the away team was allowed to kick off and by a long series of injuries The first chance came after ten minutes through Daland. The Norwegian defender drove with the ball deep into the opponents' penalty area but was unable to find the goal.
And it didn't stop there: our playmaker won a free kick not much later after another successful dribble, and almost headed in the opener after it was taken. Just before the half hour, Cercle kept putting the pressure on, but we hadn't see any real chances yet. Ueda woke up the Jan Breydel on the half hour, though: the Japanese attacked towered above everyone, but could not put enough power on his header. With this effort he seemed to have inspired his compatriot Hara on the other team, because he also had a good chance with his head a few moments later, but he couldn't get it on target. Just when we seemed to be heading towards halftime scoreless, Lopes got forward brilliantly. The Portuguese zigzagged past everyone before being finally brought down by Bauer: this time the Association did not concede a light penalty, but had one of their own. Schmidt dived to the correct side, but Ueda's penalty was unstoppable. Even then, there was more to come before halftime -- after the visitors were unable to clear a long ball, Ueda had a one-on-one with Schmidt and our top scorer coolly made it 2-0 at the interval. It was his 17th goal this season, just two less than Pro League top scorer Cuypers of KAA Gent.
Then the second half started a lot more promising than the first. The Groen-Zwart immediately put the pressure on and had a lot of possession. Yet it was the visitors who thought they had scored on a free kick, although it was immediately denied because of a handball. Sint-Truiden continued to press towards Majecki's goal, but Cercle did not allow any chances, until substitute Koita made a similar run to Lopes' and just like the Portuguese also received a penalty. After consulting VAR, Bruno (ex-Cercle) scored his 18th goal from the spot to make it 2-1.
The Association seemed unsettled for a moment and a lively Bruno realized that. After Popovic misjudged a long ball, the Belgian was right in front of Majecki. Only a poor touch and a wild rebound kept him from scoring the equalizer. Sint-Truiden continued to press, but a resilient Cercle would allow no further scoring opportunities. As icing on the cake, the Jan Breydel Stadium would celebrate third time as a counter-attack from Hotic and Ueda was clinically finished by Denkey to make the score 3-1.
On the last match day next Sunday, our Groen-Zwart will head to Waregem, which still has a chance of extendeding its stay in the top flight.
Cercle Brugge: 1. Majecki, 4. Daland, 5. Popovic, 11. Gboho(10. Hotic 76’), 17. Francis (9. Denkey 72’), 22. Lopes da Silva (8. Decostere 88’), 23. Deman, 34. Somers (14. Vanhoutte 88’), 36. Ueda, 41. Siquet (28. Van der Bruggen 72’), 66. Ravych
STVV: 21. Schmit, 4. Hashioka (22. Janssens 63’), 9. Hara (8. Hayashi 72’), 13. Reitz (14. Dumont 63’), 16. Smets, 20. Bauer, 26. Teixeira, 27. Boya, 30. Okazaki (11. Kaya 82’), 77. Bocat (7. Koita 63’), 91. Bruno