Cercle were able to secure a ticket for the European Playoffs away to Zulte Waregem after an intense match. Our Groen-Zwart took a 0-2 lead after ten minutes, but gave it away in the second half. With the score 2-2, Thibo Somers was finally able to score the winning goal five minutes before full time. This is how Cercle secured the victory and a place in the top eight, with Zulte Waregem relegated to the second division.
Cercle qualify for the European Playoffs after a 3-2 victory against Zulte Waregem
Cercle had a dream start at the Gaverbeek. After just six minutes, a blocked effort by Gboho fell to Siquet. The young Belgian did not hesitate to make it 0-1, and a few minutes later, the Groen-Zwart scored again. After attacking through Somers and Siquet, Deman was sent with a long ball. He was able to reach Gboho, but he missed his shot. Fortunately, Ueda was there to score the second goal and double the lead.
After the opening phase, which was entirely in favor of Cercle, the Essevee had to answer to avoid relegation. The home team went full out on the attack, but did not get further than a few minor chances for Zinho Gano, among others.
At the end of the first half, Deman was knocked down in the box. Referee Lambrechts initially did not whistle a penalty, allowing Zulte Waregem to counter and Ravych even had to clear a ball off the line. Moments later, the ref was called back by the VAR and Cercle were awarded a penalty after all. Ayase Ueda kicked it into the roof of the goal, but turned out to have hit the ball twice, and Cercle would not take a 0-3 lead into halftime.
The second half started more quietly than the first, with few chances in the opening minutes. After fifteen minutes of play, the hosts suddenly had an opener. Vossen's header was blocked at first, but eventually ended up at the feet of Willen. The defender was able to turn and shoot. The ball deviated and landed high in the goal. Not much later it would become 2-2. After a combination on the right flank, Ndour was played in towards Majecki by Sissako. The attacker neatly chipped the ball over the Polish goalkeeper. The equalizer was only just on the scoreboard when it then seemed to be 3-2. However, Fadera's goal was rightly disallowed for offside.
Coach Miron Muslic decided to make three substitutions after the hosts' strong spell of play. With a fresher team, the Groen-Zwart grew into the game and Deman and the substitute Denkey, among others, were able to take their chances against Bostyn's goal. Cercle were creating threats again, but were unable to create any really dangerous opportunities. That is, until Thibo Somers scored the winning goal in the 83rd minute. Denkey's shot was initially stopped, but Somers was able to put in the rebound. The West Flemish youth product thus sealed the fate of both teams as Zulte Waregem dropped to the second division, while six more matches in the Europeam Play-Offs are ahead for Cercle.
Zulte Waregem: Bostyn, Derijck (Braem 82’), Sissako, Fadera, Vossen, Ndour, Fila, Vormer, Miroshi (Brüls 88’), Willen, Gano
Cercle Brugge: Majecki, Daland (Marcelin 74’), Popovic, Gboho (Denkey 74’), Da Silva Lopes (Francis 74’), Deman, Van Der Bruggen (Vanhoutte 30’), Somers, Ueda, Siquet (Hotic 58’), Ravych
Goals: Siquet (6’, 0-1), Ueda (9’, 0-2), Willen (59’, 1-2), Ndour (68’, 2-2), Somers (84’, 2-3)