The restart of the league after the international break had our Kemphans facing the Great Old. The Antwerp centenarians were anything but limping along. With the launch of their film docu ‘Den Dubbel’ and their ticket to Barcelona in the Champions League, Royal Antwerp FC were living on a pink cloud. On the Westel side, newcomers Sydorchuk and Bayram were counted on to puncture that pink cloud and ensure KVC’s first three-peat.
Line-up KVC Westerlo: N. Gillekens, L. Van Eenoo (74′ D. Haspolat), M. Frigan (64′ K. Vaesen), S. Sydorchuk, B. Reynolds (84′ E. Jordanov), T. Rommens, R. Neustädter, T. Van Den Keybus (84′ Fixelles), L. Stassin, N. Chadli (74′ Y. Matsuo)
And all together as one behind the Kemphans. With a fine tifo, the Kemphans supporters already showed they were looking forward to it tonight. The enthusiasm in the stands inspired Chadli to fire a cross at Butez early in the game, but his half-cocked effort failed to worry the visiting goalie sufficiently.
At the other end, though, all alarm bells went off. Keita snatched the ball on the edge of the Westel box and laid it ready for Janssen, who simply tapped it in.
Our Kemphans’ reaction quickly followed. A free kick by Van Den Keybus ended up in front of Van Eenoo after some fumbling in the box. The latter managed to work the ball against the net, but saw his shot foiled by an earlier foul called by referee D’Hondt.
The game rippled on, with Antwerp claiming most of the ball possession and Westerlo looking for an opening in the visiting defence. However, neither team found those together in the remainder of the first half, taking us into half-time with a 0-1 score.
As at the start of the first half, our yellow shirts provided the first significant goal threat. Van Eenoo put Frigan in scoring position with a sharp cross, but the Croatian striker was just a toe short of deviating the ball past Butez.
For the next few minutes, the spectators in attendance were given very little to warm up to. Knitting in midfield took over, chances were few. Until just after the hour Muja sent Bataille face to face with Gillekens with a millimetric pass. The Antwerp left back did not fail to score and put the 0-2 on the board.
Pass-maker on duty Muja put his name on the scoreboard a bit later. After his first attempt smashed against the post, the lively Albanian winger now hit the target on a Vermeeren pass. That made it 0-3 in a difficult game that did not produce the hoped-for result for our Kemphans.
Report: Glen Van Herck
Photos: Peter De Voecht/Photo News