Alex settled in for the longest drive he had faced so far as Brugge manager 1 hour and 41 minutes to get to Leuvan home of the biggest alcohol company in the world. Alex may sneak some samples back with him.
His side was the same as the one that ended the game against AA Gent to take on the biggest surprise in Belgian football this year OHL. A win would go a long way to consolidating third while a loss would see them drop out of second.
After 17 minutes of not a lot happening Alex was able to bring down a long clearance by OHL with a wonderful touch to the biggest cheer of the game. Cools took the throw in to Ebert who backheeled the ball to Vanaken. He passed to Vormer who returned it. Vanaken chipped a ball over the left back to Ebert who ran into lots of space to hit in a cross. It was cleared out of the box and Ebert chased it down. From 30 yards out on the wing he hit in a shot/cross to the back post. Izquierdo sprinted to catch up with the ball and rose at the back post. He powered his header in past the helpless keeper and Brugge were ahead. Alex was pleased he side were scoring more now but, knew there was aa long time to go.
After 35 minutes Brugge had a corner. They had caused chaos from set pieces last time so Alex was hopeful. Vormer hit it in and Denswil flicked the ball on at the near post. Engels volleyed it at the back post and Alex was about to celebrate when it smashed into the stomach of the man on the line winding him but, stopping a goal and the ball was scrambled away by OHL.
Alex was pleased with the lead at half time and let his team know. He also pulled off a tired looking Ebert for Gedoz who Alex hoped could be a big impact sub.
With nothing happening after an hour Alex put Zokora on to give Simons a rest which the 39 year old looked to need. Eight minutes later there was something interesting. OHL played some nice football out wide and Cerigioni got in behind Cools to open up a nice opportunity. He hit in a cross and Trosssard jumped up to sidefoot volley the ball past Butelle. He ran off to celebrate until he saw the linesman’s flag was up. A correct offside call that Alex applauded.
With 13 minutes left OHL had a throw in deep in the Brugge half. Torssard got on the ball 25 yards out and was easily able to turn and pass to Remacle who was wide in the box. He hit in a cross that Alex dreamt of as a striker. Ojo got on the end of it and finished it as Alex always wanted to. A thumping header that left the keeper no chance. It was a great header but, it forced Alex to change his plan Abdoulay Diaby went on as Brugge went 4-4-2.
When Brugge got a throw in deep in the Brugge half he motioned al his players forwards as there were just 3 minutes left. De Bock threw it in and the ball bounced over Zokora’s foot and was hoofed clear. Aleex was worried for the counter but, Denswil got up high and headed the ball up to Izquierdo. He played the ball inside to Vanaken who hit it wide to De Bock instantly. De Bock was wide open and took a touch before hitting a cross into the “corridor of uncertainty”. Two defenders could only watch the ball pass by for fear of scoring an own goal. Gedoz was happy to hit the ball and did, firing in to give Brugge the late goal. Alex celebrated with his staff and the bench before telling his players to be organised at the back.
Brugge pushed forwards two minutes later. Zokora passing up to Diaby who played the ball on to Vossen. He passed back and Diaby played the ball to Izquierdo. With poor runs denying him a pass and the defence being way back Alex wanted him to take it to the corner to kill time. From over 25 yards out Izquiero instead smashed a low shot towards goal. It was the perfect shot powerful and went in just inside the far post out of reach of the keeper. It was a tremendous goal and Izquierdo looked thrilled as he ran off to the corner flag where he did some awful dancing to celebrate.
As the added time went up OHL had a corner they hit in. Denswil headed it out and Cerigioni got the ball. He hit in a great cross and Kanu powered a header in, again offside though. That correct stopped any chance of a comeback and Alex’s side had another win and a bit more of a grip on second place.
A good win over an over performing OHL side that were dangerous.
They now had a better hold on second place with a two point lead over Anderlecht. It also meant if they dropped any points then AA Gent would be back to back league winners.
Ebert had complained that his hamstring was sore when he came on and later Thierry said he had pulled it and would miss 4 weeks, or the rest of the season. “Another one bites the dust.” Alex thought Ebert had missed a lot of the season for Brugge despite supposedly not being injury prone.
Also questions still welcome