Could our Kemphans break the spell? For 15 years, KVC had been waiting for a three-peat against KAA Gent. Statistically, the second home game did not look too rosy beforehand. But in a summery Kuip the sun already pierced the cloud cover, possibly our Kemphans could do the same tonight with the Ghent curse.
Line-up KVC Westerlo: S. Bolat, P. Perdichizzi, M. Fixelles (84′ M. Gümüskaya), J. Bos (84′ T. Rommens), N. Madsen, M. Frigan (84′ F. Goure), B. Reynolds, E. Jordanov (72′ A. Mebude), R. Neustädter, T. Van Den Keybus, Y. Matsuo (72′ L. Stassin)
With a blast from outside the sixteen mere minutes after kick-off, it was Van Den Keybus who immediately made Westel’s intentions clear. With the necessary drive forward, KVC looked for an opening in the Ghent defence. Which Frigan found after 15 minutes in the form of Torunarigha’s hand. The Westerlo record purchase headed the ball in from close range, referee De Cremer inexorably pointed to the spot. The eleven-metre was a breeze for Madsen, who icily calmly sent Gent goalie Nardi the wrong way.
The Westel hit shook man-in-form Orban awake. He pulled the trigger a few minutes after the opening goal, but found Bolat in his path. A little later it was a prize for the visitors. Hong found the head of Watanabe on a corner kick, who nodded the 1-1 half-time score on the board.
With a shot by Van Den Keybus going just wide, we got virtually a copybook start to the second half. And when Perdichizzi got a free-shooting chance from close range, the goal-scoring sequence seemed to follow the same scenario too, if it were not for a foot from Gent goalie Nardi preventing the early 2-1.
At the other end, after an hour of play, it was a prize. A long ball from Bolat landed at the feet of Kums. He immediately found Cuypers in front of goal and the former top marksman added an extra goal to his goal statistics this season.
Not much later, another notch could be added to Cuypers’ goal column. After a foul tackle by Reynolds in the penalty area, the ball also went on the dot for KAA Gent. Cuypers finely converted the eleven-metre, but had to repeat the trick again from ref De Cremer as Orban came running into the sixteen too quickly. It hardly bothered the Ghent attacking leader, as on his second attempt too he coolly put the ball away in the bottom right corner.
While Westerlo used a triple substitution to look for a promising tying goal – and came close with Gümüskaya and Rommens – Bolat prevented both Fofana and Tissoudali from scoring. So the game ended at 1-3 and the woeful series against KAA Gent has one more extension.
Report: Glen Van Herck
Photos: Peter De Voecht/Photo News