The draw in Eupen felt like a defeat. Especially as the match officials did not have their best game behind them and helped determine the final score. We are confident that our Kemphans will get their backs up and go full steam ahead in this top game against Gent. A win would mean a good step towards a ticket for PO2.
In the end, our coach did not take a risk to draft Nacer and Thomas already in the match against Eupen. That match came just a little too early for them. Every effort is also being made to get our newest transfer, Yusuke Matsuo, eligible to play. This would give our sporting staff a little less puzzle to put together a competitive team. Hats off to that same staff, though, that the substitutes are always ready to smoothly join the starting starting eleven.
Sinan Bolat and Maxim De Cuyper are still the best of our class in terms of playing minutes. Both have been at the kick-off in every league game, although Sinan has to be careful as the penalty bench (he is currently on 4 yellow cartons) lurks around the corner. Curly Maxim De Cuyper remains our number 1 when it comes to “goal participation”. As a left-back, he already scored five goals and also gave six assists. Our Malian striker Dorgeles Nene follows in second place here. He scored seven times – only Lyle Foster, who left for Burnley, did better this season – and gave 2 assists
The Buffaloes come down to the Kuipje with a 0/6. They have now lost twice in a row with the same score of two goals scored for and three goals against. Cercle Brugge and KRC Genk were the opponents. They also experienced this twice this current season – losing twice in a row – and each time they then won their next game convincingly, notably against Zulte Waregem (2-0) and Eupen (0-4). Next week, they also have a midweek European Conference League match scheduled against Qarabag.
Coach Vanhaezebrouck was in the picture this week with his lashing out at his own board regarding the flow of players from his own youth. The players he currently has at his disposal are not the least important. Last week’s starting eleven was worth 3 times as much (see Transfermarkt) as those of our Kemphans.
In goal is Frenchman Paul Nardi, who previously worked for Cercle Brugge in Belgium. He seems to have won the battle from Davy Roef. At the back is almost always the same trio. Cameroonian Michael Ngadeu, who was the only one in the core to start in all 24 matches. Kenyan Joseph Okumu and German Joran Torunarigha complete the defensive trio. Recently, Polish international Kamil Piatkowski, on loan from Red Bull Salzburg, also joined the ranks there. He was posted on the right flank last week. On that other flank is Alessio Castro-Montes. He was on Roberto Martinez’s longlist in November, to keep ready for Qatar. In midfield is old faithful Sven Kums and he will be joined on that middle strip by Liège player Julien De Sart and South Korean Hong. The latter could already be found on the goalscoring list five times and he also gave 3 assists to his teammates to score. Hugo Cuypers is the club’s deepest striker and also top marksman. With his 13 goals – including 2 penalties – he is currently third in our national top marksman rankings after Paul Onuachu and Vincent Janssen. Youngster Malick Fofana, who turns 18 next month, joined Cuypers in the attacking compartment last weekend.
Following players would be unavailable: Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, Andrew Hjulsager, Matisse Samoise, Nurio Fortuna and Tarik Tissoudali.
Kevin Van Damme
This 32-year-old referee, affiliated to West Flanders’ KSV Rumbeke, will referee this match. It will be his 15th in this football season and the first for Westerlo. He has already featured once for Gent this season, when they played 0-0 draw at their own Ghelamco against Charleroi.
If we dig deeper, we see that Kevin has already officiated three times in the past at the Kuipje. Twice the match ended in a spectacle score: 0-0 against Beerschot and Roeselare in the then Proximus League. We also noted one defeat then, against the later champions Cercle Brugge (2-3). Quite remarkably, in his 94 games already flown (League, Cup and Play-offs) in First Division, he only faced AA Gent three times.
Text and statistics: Peter Boons