Club Brugge is one victory of the new national title. At Jan Breydel, Union was allowed to dream up a fairy tale for a long time, but the visitors failed several times to finish off impressive chances against the mighty Mignolet. A second yellow card for Machida turned the game around the clock. An unfortunate own goal will haunt Al Ittihad for a long time to come, as will Nielsen’s unfortunate final goal.
Club Brugge – Al Ittihad in a nutshell:
- Key moment: Union’s insane delight when Nielsen finally equalizes with a superb shot, but VAR provides a painful aberration. The hit is disallowed due to the previous offside, leaving Al Ittihad undefeated.
- man of the match: Simon Mignolet is undoubtedly the bogeyman of the Federation this season. He saved an early goal from Lazar, also kept Undav from 0-1 shortly before the end of the first half and frustrated another goal from Lazar after the break.
- noticeable: Al Ittihad managed to get only one point in 4 mutual duels with Club Brugge this season and was unable to score against the defending champion. Club Brugge is the only team Union could not defeat this season.
Mignolet keeps the club afloat
Union had handled a hit last Sunday, which became apparent after just 19 seconds. On a pass from Labusin, Lazar took the ball perfectly inside the penalty area and from an acute angle decided on Mignolet.
The tune was set, Union got off to a strong start and the club couldn’t play football. After only 20 minutes, the defending champion was able to control the match. This resulted in little more than a surprising corner kick assisted by Lazar Morris.
Al-Ittihad finished the first half as it began: with a good chance. Mitoma sent Undav away in the chest. The German striker aimed between Mignolet’s legs, but she closed them in time. Once again, the goalkeeper kept the club afloat with his decisive save.
Mignolet prevents 0-1 after just 19 seconds:
Exclusion Machida kills the union
Right after the break, Mignolet did that trick again. Lazar scored in a low cross from Vanzer, but so far the club’s goalkeeper has been able to spoil the score 0-1. The tipping point followed a few minutes later. Machida hit the broken Adamian and took his second yellow card.
With a man who smokes more and called, he takes his chance. On three occasions, Hendry came close to 1-0, but Morris saved twice and Biger removed the goal line. Eventually the union cracked under pressure. Morris was unable to catch a shot from Buchanan and push the ball into Bigger’s face. The attempt disappeared in the goal by the unfortunate goalkeeper.
Another blow to the Federation, but the visitors did not give up. Undav tested Mignolet’s reflexes once again and missed a huge opportunity ten minutes from the end, heading narrowly past the goal from close range. And it seemed that the equalizer came in the last minute when Nielsen scored, but the VAR stopped it and canceled the goal for offside.
The turning point, Machida takes his second yellow card:
Feedback from Bruges Camp:
- Brandon Michel: “The fans supported us throughout the match, this great atmosphere really pushed us forward. We gave up at times, but the three points were well deserved. It was a shame when we conceded a man over 1-1, but thankfully the VAR in the middle and things went well. We had a tough time, just like on Sunday, Al Ittihad is a very good team. We took care of the group and we have more chances than in the first leg. With an extra man it should have been easier, but good luck I hope we can finish it this Sunday .
- Dennis Odoy: “Everyone knows the importance of these matches. It is normal that there is an exit now, but there are still two matches and it is up to us to confirm. Machida’s red card definitely made the difference today. After that we were better and there was more room to play football. It wasn’t supposed to. That late equaliser goes down anymore. We have to test out there and be strong enough to not concede any more chances. Now we have to recover and move on to Sunday. We’re going to do everything we can to finish it on the brown owl.”
- Simon Mignolet: “What happened today is unbelievable. Two red cards, a goal disallowed, a penalty that was disallowed by VAR. It was a typical play-off match and I am very happy because we had the longest straw we did our job, two wins over Al Ittihad, again with a clean sheet.”
“The most important save for me was after 19 seconds. If Union takes the lead there, they can play their favorite game and shoot on the counter. Now we can keep our cool and after that red card we scored in time there” There still a lot to happen, I’ve seen that today. Losing focus in the end almost made it 1-1 and then everything tilted again. We’ve now made two great strides, but we still have two games to play.”
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