December 4, 2022

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Al Ittihad's powerful stunt against Rangers in the third preliminary round of the Champions League can continue to dream of the group stage

Al Ittihad’s powerful stunt against Rangers in the third preliminary round of the Champions League can continue to dream of the group stage

Fabulous! Al Ittihad could go to Glasgow with a 2-0 bonus after a great performance against Rangers. Who would dare say this team would look out of place in the Champions League?

Almost every Scott we met before the game was barely standing on his feet from the saturation – the stands at Leuven can be very relaxing. Today, however, it’s not just beer that causes a hangover. How good was the union, for example …

Prior to that, there was an idea that Rangers were very favourite. After all, the Scottish vice-champion reached the Europa League final last season, so a double encounter against a stunt team partly from Belgium shouldn’t be a problem, right? At first, Rangers seemed to live up to those expectations: It was the opening stage for visitors.

thoma tape

Union was unfazed, however, and took the match piece by piece, with Lapucin Adingra’s tandem on the left cruising the Scots. The first really big opportunity came with the help of Adingra, and Lazare and Vanzeir couldn’t work in the nearby position. It was the next opportunity. Lazar and Nieuwkoop continued well after a team attack at sixteen, and Teuma managed to outsmart McLaughlin (1-0). Progress accrued based on the course of the match.

He was afraid that Union An den Drive in Leuven would not be able to take full advantage of the Twelfth Man. This turned out to be a mistake: the atmosphere was beautiful. The fans were constantly singing, pushing their players forward and making it a real party. The good thing is: even if the score is 0-3 after half an hour, that might be the case. This is the union – there is clearly no negativity there.

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Stars cannot be counted by hand. Goalkeeper Maurice can be a playmaker with some first-class players – he has good feet. At the back, the trio stood firm, Captain Touma played a great game in midfield, while Labusin and Nieuwkoop again played tirelessly on the wings. Up front, Adingra, who came close to scoring twice after the break, confirmed all the good things in the first two days of the match. It can become a sensation.

Gorgeous Lazar

Then there was Lazar Amane, the Ivorian who has been nothing more than a follower of Leoben and Charleroi who is now laying the lines in the preliminary rounds of the Champions League. Lazar seems to have the muscle mass of a schoolboy, but he can’t get off the ball and he has nice acceleration and dribbling in his legs. He also appears to be a humble boy: on Monday he came to train in Leuven by train and his motorbike.


Photo: BELGA

She had to be there: Union was playing the Rangers, not a bunch of pies after all, Redshanks. Only that 2-0 wasn’t coming, until suddenly the referee was called to the VAR screen for hand play. Penalty!

Dante Vanzer has “cojones” – you have to give him that. In the play-off games, he missed a (perhaps crucial) penalty against Club Brugge, and yesterday he may not have been the best Federal player on the field, but he still has his responsibility. Everyone present held their breath – it wouldn’t happen again, would it? -, but Vanzer pushed with an icy calm (2-0). Clearly, something fell off his shoulders: he celebrated with his hands behind his ear. It’s a pity that he let 3-0 lie after a few minutes: then the Rangers were all against the canvas.

Tiens, wasn’t the union a one-off fairy tale? Won’t inexperienced players reach their limits? Wasn’t Geraerts a little green for this job? The work isn’t over yet, and there’s still a hot comeback, but against Rangers it’s becoming clear for the umpteenth time: nothing is impossible with Union.

Al Ittihad's powerful stunt against Rangers in the third preliminary round of the Champions League can continue to dream of the group stage


Photo: BELGA

Al Ittihad's powerful stunt against Rangers in the third preliminary round of the Champions League can continue to dream of the group stage


Photo: BELGA

Al Ittihad's powerful stunt against Rangers in the third preliminary round of the Champions League can continue to dream of the group stage


Photo: BELGA

Al Ittihad's powerful stunt against Rangers in the third preliminary round of the Champions League can continue to dream of the group stage


Photo: ISOPIX