The men’s calendar makers had a spirited start to the season in store for our Kemphans. Having previously hosted Club Brugge and Gent at their own Kuipje, record champion RSC Anderlecht’s Lotto Park was the next stop. After three games, the Westel steam train was not yet fully up to speed, but with Stassin, Mebude, Gillekens and Tagir as new wagons, coach De Roeck hoped to get the first three points of the season on board.
Line-up KVC Westerlo: N. Gillekens, P. Perdichizzi, M. Fixelles (84′ M. Gümüskaya), N. Madsen, M. Frigan (84′ F. Goure), A. Mebude (46′ Y. Matsuo), B. Reynolds, R. Tagir (46′ E. Jordanov), R. Neustädter, T. Van Den Keybus, L. Stassin (72′ L. Stassin)
The hoped-for Westel whirlwind, however, had to give way to a purple-and-white stranglehold. After a smooth combination down the left flank, Dolberg poked the 1-0 on the board after less than a minute of play. Not much later, the Danish striker tried again, but his attempt with the head proved to be less successful than with his favourite right foot.
While Westerlo tried to get out of contention, Anderlecht remained in control of the game. An industrious Flips saw his first goal for the purple and white team swing just past the far post, Sardella saw his cross shot skilfully swept out of the top corner by Gillekens. On the opposite side, Fixelles ensured a first dash on the analysts’ statistics sheet with a shot wide.
An eager Raman hoped to add his name to that paper a little before half-time as well, but he decided wide face to face with Gillekens.
New half, new chances and also two new names. Matsuo and Jordanov were thrown into the fray in place of Mebude and Tagir. Yet it was rather an ‘older’ name that provided the first goal threat. Vertonghen looked for the second ball with a slick header, but found Gillekens’ fingertips there. Not much later, Raman then tried to fish the other post with a curled shot, but his effort too was deflected into corner by an attentive Gillekens.
Another round of substitutions on the hour had to provide a turnaround. With newcomers Alcocer and Chadli, De Roeck threw two (former) internationals onto the pitch. That inspired the other international on the opposite side to fire at Gillekens’ goal once more. Vertonghen cut himself free in the penalty area and kicked in beautifully overhead.
The 2-0 looked set to be the death knell for our Kemphans, until Jordanov found the connecting goal through a bunch of legs 10 minutes before time, reviving Westel hopes. But it did not do more than bring some tension back into the game. So although our Kemphans came close in the closing stages, the three points simply stayed in the capital.
Report: Glen Van Herck
Photos: Ses/Photo News