Preview KVC Westerlo – OH Leuven
Tomorrow the eighth final of the Croky Cup is on the program. After eliminating Antwerp FC in the previous round, this time we have a game against OHL on the menu. The team from Leuven – under the watchful eye of our coaching staff – scored a well-deserved victory on the field of leader Union. The goal is a place in the quarterfinals. Note: extra time and penalty kicks are possible. The match will be shown live on RTV.
Currently, the Flemish-Brabanders are in twelfth place in the league. They barely lose, but on the other hand only the last two in 1A, Cercle and Beerschot, have won fewer games. In other words, they draw a lot. Half of their games this season ended in a draw. The Antwerp-based Marc Brys usually puts together the following team: In goal is the Venezuelan international Rafal Romo. Brys already had him under his belt at Beerschot. This weekend, however, the Icelander Runar Runarsson was allowed to make his debut. He is on loan from English top club Arsenal this season. Runar has a well-known soccer father. Runar Kristinsson played between 2000 and 2007 at Daknam with the local Lokeren.
In defense, two players are sure of their place. Belgian Sébastien Dewaest and Turk Cenk Özkacar occupy the center of defense.
Both are also rented for 1 year from KRC Genk and Olympique Lyon respectively. For the third place in the center, Brys always plays in the system 3-4-2-1, 2 players are eligible. The last few weeks the Moroccan Soufiane Chakla plays there. Last season he was on the list of Europa League winner Villarreal CF, this season he was acquired by OHL. Soufiane also got his first taste of the Atlas Lions, the national team of Morocco, in March this year. For this side, it may be that Liège native Ngawa will join the squad.
On the flanks are Mousa Al-Tamari and Casper De Norre. The former is an international of Jordan and on the left side we find right foot Casper De Norre. Casper scored his first goal of the competition last weekend, after a rehearsed free kick. Although he admitted that a lot of luck was involved. They too could well be replaced by other names for this match. Vlietinck and Aguemon would then name their replacements.
The brand new Belgian promising international Mandela Keita and old faithful Siebe Schrijvers occupy the center of midfield. Siebe has been moved a row back by his coach and by his own admission he feels fine there. Bulgarian international Malinov and Alexis De Sart also compete for a place there, but usually have to acknowledge their superiority to the first 2 names.
Captain Xavier Mercier and Mathieu Maertens are the key players in this team. Mercier was the assist king last year with 16, this year his counter is again at 6.
Maertens is also a regular goal scorer, last weekend he scored his 28th goal in Leuven.
After the departure of top striker Thomas Henry to the Italian Venezia FC, they had to look for a new deep striker. The choice fell on the Guinean Sory Kaba of FC Midtjylland. In 10 games he was already good for 4 goals. Kaveh Rezaei appeared to be a real goal machine at Charleroi, but at Club Brugge (1 goal) and OHL ( 0 goals) it just won’t work. Brys hardly starts him either (4 starts and 3 substitutions for 310 minutes).
Did you know?
– OHL has never reached the quarterfinals of the Cup of Belgium since their merger in 2002.
– That coach Marc Brys has ever won the Cup? This was in 2005, when he was in the final against Club Brugge with GBA and won this match 2-1.
What a release we had in the 92nd minute in the Soeverein stadium.
After a great assist by Kyan Vaesen – what a performance by that boy – our top marksman Erdon Daci was just a bit smarter than the defender and could take home the three points. Everyone agreed. When you’re on top, sometimes you have just that little bit more luck. We know all about it. This season everything works out, but it’s still the merit of the players and our sporting staff that we are so high up with a nice lead on our nearest rivals.
After a difficult game in Lommel, you could see us getting more and more into the game around the 70th minute. I can still hear one of our substitutes shouting: “Come on guys, they’re getting tired”. He was right. The match was won on physicality and character.
The league of course remains the main goal this season. Just like in the previous cup game against Antwerp, our coach will probably give a few “new” guys a chance, as a league game against Mouscron is scheduled for Sunday.
23 players were already deployed this season. 8 of them started each time: Jensen, Seigers, Perdichizzi, Van Eenoo, Bernat, De Cuyper, Jordanov and Dierckx. The latter two will in any case not be at this game due to injury, for the others, coach De Roeck might opt to let them rest, although Maxim De Cuyper will be back after his illness last weekend.
Did you know?
Mo Messoudi won the Belgium Cup in 2005 with GBA, then under the management of Marc Brys.
22.11.2019 KVCW-OHL 1-2 goal Brüls
09.08.2019 KVCW-OHL 1-0 goal Abrahams
21.12.2018 KVCW-OHL 0-0
19.10.2018 KVCW-OHL 0-1
09.12.2017 KVCW-OHL 1-0 goal Naessens
Wim Smet mag deze achtste finale in het Kuipje komen fluiten. Deze Antwerpenaar komt grotendeels in actie in de 1A-reeks. Zo heeft hij dit seizoen reeks 9 wedstrijden daar gefloten, alsook 1 wedstrijd in onze B-reeks (Moeskroen tegen Waasland Beveren). Dit wordt zijn 20ste wedstrijd voor Westerlo. Bij de laatste 4 wedstrijden die hij voor ons heeft gefloten, gingen we steeds als winnaar naar de kleedkamer. De laatste bekerwedstrijd die hij leidde voor onze Kemphanen, was de spectaculaire 3-4 overwinning in Waasland Beveren (2019). Onze tegenstrever OHL heeft hem al zestienmaal gehad, waaronder 2 bekerwedstrijden, die ze allebei verloren hebben: in 2016 op Anderlecht (1-0) en in 2021 thuis tegen Cercle Brugge (2-3).
Statistics and text: Peter Boons