A penalty goal after an intervention by VAR gave Antwerp all three points this afternoon. However, Cercle can once again look back on a good performance, as they certainly deserved more from the game, even if it leaves the Groen-Zwart with another bitter, narrow defeat.
Cercle deserved more, but narrowly lose to Antwerp, 0-1
Cercle started the match eagerly and drove ahead, putting a lot of pressure on their opponents. The Groen-Zwart even came close to scoring early on. In the tenth minute Millan had a one-on-one with Antwerp goalkeeper Butez, but he was sharp to the danger. Despite the effort on our part, there was few efforts on target for a long time. Shortly before the half hour, Hotic was just too late to tap home a clever pass from Millan, while Butez had little trouble with attempts by Matondo and Van Der Bruggen. On the other side, the Groen-Zwart defense had everything well under control, and Didillon had little to do before the break, as Fischer's attempt went wide shortly before the interval.
Even after the break, Cercle immediately continued to play with momentum, although the visitors soon showed showed a different, more attacking side to their play. However, neither team could create much danger. When VAR saw a handball from Utkus in the box shortly before the hour mark, the referee pointed mercilessly to the spot. Antwerp's top scorer Frey did not miss this opportunity to give the visitors the lead.
Cercle went looking for an equalizer, but failed to put Butez to the test. At the other end, Didillon was called into action with a diving save to deny Antwerp substitute Samatta. With fifteen minutes to go, Hotic aimed a free kick perfectly towards the top left corner, but Butez made an excellent save. In the match's final minutes, Cercle did everything possible to get a result, but in the end their efforts came to nothing.
Cercle Brugge: Didillon, Vitinho (Popovic 84'), Daland, Sousa, Corryn (Velkovski 21'), Van Der Bruggen, Utkus (Vanhoutte 75'), Hotic (Deman 84'), Matondo, Somers and Millan (Denkey 75').
Antwerp: Butez, De Laet, Engels, Almeida, Vines, Benson (Bataille 80'), Gerkens (Samatta 65'), Verstreate, Yusuf, Fischer (Balikwisha 65') and Frey (Eggestein 80')
Goals: Frey 57' (Penalty, 0-1)