Line-up KVC Westerlo: S. Bolat, B. Reynolds, R. Tagir, R. Neustädter, M. De Cuyper, E. Jordanov (’76 T. Dierckx), N. Madsen (’91 R. Seigers), M. Fixelles (’76 I. Vetokele), L. Van Eenoo, D. Nene (’90 M. Gumuskaya), K. Vaesen
We start at the Kehrweg-Stadium without Chadli and Van den Keybus. They will miss this game against Eupen through injury. On the bench, we will see Mabea return after a long time. Griffin Yow is on the bench for the first time. Ilias El Hari is for the first time on the selection.
A strong start for Westerlo with immediate threat up front. In minute 5, our captain Van Eenoo headed straight through the centre to the opposite side and thus secured a free kick about 25 metres. A first real chance follows from this short-taken free kick. De Cuyper with a sharp cross from the right which unfortunately nobody managed to put his foot against.
Our Kemphans claim most of the ball possession, but the Pandas are well organised. Neither team manages to make real chances.
In minute 24, Nene comes close to the Eupen goal after a good tap from Vaesen. Nene presses but the shot lacks direction and goes wide. A good 5 minutes later we get the first real threat from the home team. A strong low cross from the left, but De Cuyper manages to clear the ball in the centre. Moments later, another attack from the white shirts, this time from the right. The shot goes wide.
After 38 minutes, we do register the first shot on goal. Fixelles puts on a strong push and bangs toward goal.
Just before half-time, Nene comes all alone in front of the goalkeeper after fumbling in the Eupen defence. Nene kicks the ball over Moser, ensuring that our Kemphanen go into half-time with a 0-1 lead. The goal comes at a very good time, after a half in which Westerlo had the upper hand.
We start the 2nd half with the same 11 names and, just like in the first half, we start sharply. Fixelles immediately gets 2 big chances to double the score, but both his header and the shot with the left from an acute angle do not go in.
After 60′, a nasty head-to-head collision between Tagir and N’dri in a head-to-head duel. Both men fortunately get off unscathed and are able to resume the match as normal. A few minutes later, both players are again involved in a phase together. N’dri is quicker on the ball than Tagir, causing our defender to commit a foul and referee Denil whistles a penalty kick. Bolat has no chance against Peeters’ perfect kick and so it is 1-1 after 68 minutes of football. Immediately after the goal, a reaction of our Kemphanen. De Cuyper with the clever through ball to Nene who kicked the ball hard at goalkeeper Moser from close range.
At 1-1 and with 15 minutes left on the clock, the first substitutions are made along our side. Fixelles and Jordanov are replaced by Vetokele and Dierckx. 2 fresh attacking forces to look for the 3 points here in the east of the country.
After 79 minutes, a good chance for Westerlo after a free kick by Lukas Van Eenoo. He kicks the ball hard towards the short corner, but the goalkeeper is there to punch the ball away. Westerlo try to regain control of the game. A few minutes later, Nene goes down in the penalty area. Neither referee nor VAR intervene, so no penalty. Westerlo continue to press. Nene skilfully passes his direct opponent and wants to reach Vetokele at the 2nd post. The cross with the left is not good enough so Vetokele cannot reach that ball.
In minute 90, Gumuskaya replaced the tired Nene. Madsen’s match was also over. Rubin Seigers comes in to fill five minutes of extra time. In minute 95 we get one last big chance but the ball won’t go in. Final score at the Kehrweg Stadium: 1-1
Report: Mateo Heye
Photos: Luc Meynaerts