The Kempen region turned out in force. A packed-to-the-brim Kuipje awaited record champion RSC Anderlecht for the first match of the second half of the season, where players like Yow and Frigan were rewarded with a starting spot after their good performance in Charleroi.
Line-up KVC Westerlo: S. Bolat, B. Haidara (86′ T. Rommens), J. Bos, N. Madsen, M. Frigan (69′ L. Stassin), S. Sydorchuk (78′ T. Van Den Keybus), G. Yow, B. Reynolds, E. Bayram, A. Piedfort (78′ D. Haspolat), Y. Matsuo (69′ E. Daci)
A lively entrance by the footballers made the chilly and cold first day of December forgettable, but the supporters didn’t get many goal-scoring opportunities to warm up in the opening phase. The visitors were the more active ones, with Anders Dreyer trying Bolat in their first encounter but eventually finding the net in the second attempt ten minutes later.
With the opening goal on the board, Anderlecht comfortably kept possession, while the purple-white forward line looked dangerous several times, but Dolberg and Raman had to admit defeat against the excellent Bolat.
It wasn’t until the stadium clock ticked thirty minutes that we saw a turnaround in the match. Schmeichel, who was idle until then, misjudged a deep ball cleverly picked up by the nimble Yow, but his attempt was cleared off the line by Augustinsson.
Later on, it was Schmeichel himself who played the saving role with a double save against attempts from Bayram and Haidara. The flame was now fully in the Westerlo pan, as just before half-time, Yow startled the Anderlecht defense again with a sharp dribble, but his shot went just wide.
The strong finish to the first half was not a harbinger of a stormy start to the second. Anderlecht took control again but failed for a long time to further extend the score.
In the 70th minute, it was finally time. After a fine dribble by Sardella on the right flank, Delaney placed the 0-2 on the board. This prompted our Kemphanen to introduce fresh blood into the game. De Roeck brought in Daci and Stassin as a new attacking duo, the latter immediately showed his eagerness by testing Schmeichel’s goal.
The hoped-for extra goal-scoring opportunities did not materialize. On the contrary, it was the visitors who once again threatened with a solo run by Dolberg, who calmly shot the 0-3 past Bolat.
A consolation goal from Jordan Bos provided a small revival at the end, but it was no more than a meager comfort. In the first half of the second round, the Kemphanen had to succumb to the record champion.
Report: Glen Van Herck
Photos: Tsi & Ses/Photo News