MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, August 6, 2019
KV Kortrijk vs Charleroi
Eerste Klasse - Saturday August 3, 2019
Golden Spur Stadium
Brendan Hines-Ike and Kortrijk relied on a late equalizing goal to secure a point againast Charleroi in the second round of games in the Belgian Jupiler League.
On a very warm and pleasant evening in Flanders at the Golden Spur Stadium, KV Kortrijk hosted their bogey team, Charleroi who they lost both games to last season, and were up for a fight as the two sides battled to a goal apiece stalemate in front of a crowd of 5700. American defender Brendan Hines-Ike suited up for the home team and put in his typical 90 minute shift in a central defensive position.
The sprinklers stopped sprinkling the field but flags continuously waved behind the goal in the ultra's end as Jerry and the Pacemakers sang that famous American song that Liverpool FC and many other clubs have since adopted. The teams were introduced and the game got underway.
After just five minutes into the action, KVK had the first sniff at goal and should have at least produced a shot on target but with both Andriy Batsula and Imoh Ezekiel over the ball, they couldn't decide who should pull the trigger just inside the box. Defender Christophe Diandy solved their dilemma by nicking the ball and passing it back to his keeper, Nicolas Penneteau. A half dozen minutes later another chance went wanting after the Zebras had trouble clearing their box but with Julien De Sart ready to pounce, Penneteau read the error and got there first, just at the top of the 18 yard box.
Adama Niane was fed into the box down at the other end and should have done better but he was hunted down by Gary Kagelmacher and the defender obviously spooked him, forcing the man from Mali to hit it wide. Charleroi's next chance came minutes later off a free kick 20 yards out that Mamadou Fall delivered into the box with precision to Niane's head, but he didn't get enough on it to trouble Sebastien Bruzese, who claimed easily.
Niane, the Zebras #9 seemed to be involved in everything and it was the same in the 22nd minute when a ball played through from midfield split the Kortrijk defense and set him on his way. Unfortunately that one extra touch that he took allowed Bruzese to come out and smother the attempted shot before it could reach the target.
The visitor's persistence finally paid off when they won a corner kick that was delivered and headed on target. In a moment of madness, Batsula tried to be clever and stuck out his right arm, thus deflecting the effort off target. In the old days this would have been called smart defending because the referee missed it, but today it's called VAR. Monsieur Boterberg consulted his referee with the video equipment and a minute later came back to the field, made the rectangular motion with his fingers and then pointed to the spot. On loan from Anderlecht, Ryota Morioka placed the ball on the spot and put his name on the score board.
Charleroi continued dominate possession and again had a chance when Fall put in a very interesting cross that skimmed a couple yards across the mouth of goal yet there wasn't a Zebra on site to push it across the line.
A 38th minute charge up the field brought the Kerels fans to their feet when Petar Golubovic charged down the wing in the danger third of the field the ball was put behind by Matias Nurio for a corner. Golubovic delivered it and Penneteau punched it away. The clearance was not impressive though and should have come right back at him but Niane handled it. The referee missed it though.
Moving in on half time, the hosts got the bit between their teeth and surged forward a couple more times. Charleroi's defenders held a firm line and were joined in defensive duties by their midfielders who put up a solid wall that the men in red and white just could not find a crack in.
The half time whistle came at an appropriate time as both sides were running out of ideas. Charleroi had 64% of the ball and scored, so would play more defensively in the second half.
The Walloons did come out with a burst of energy and forced Bruzzese into making a half decent save just two minutes in.
Hines-Ike came up against the feisty Niane who manages a shot from close range but the American's presence made his keepers work easy and he claims the timid shot. A minute later the Mali forward tried to make something out of nothing when he was given lots of space and shot from 20 yards but straight at the Belgian keeper.
Kortrijk continued coming forward but let themselves down with the final pass or shot that jut wasn't good enough. Around the hour mark Kristof D'Haene was fouled at the top of the box but the free kick was punched away for a corner. The corner was cleared for yet another corner which again came to nothing. With all the pressing by the Kerels, something was bound to give.
Charleroi broke on a couple occasions but Hines-Ike and Bruzzese marshalled their defense well and kept the visitor's at bay.
With twenty minutes left on the clock D-Haene collected the ball in his own half and ran the length of the field, delivers a cross into the box but sees it hit wide of the post. The chances have been coming but the target has been elusive.
Their persistence paid off however in the 80th minute when the hosts beat Charleroi at their own game. Against the run of play and just on his own side of midfield, Julien De Sart spots second half sub Ilombe Mboyo ten yards ahead of him and lofts the ball up and over the defense. The Congolese born twice capped Belgian latches onto it, dribbles and then shoots hard and true into the near inside post.
Both teams now went for it, neither being content with just a point. Both had their chances but the best fell to Kortrijk. Inside the box Hines-Ike went up for a header against the keeper and the American hit the deck while Penneteau punched the ball. It was then shot back on target but deflected off the prone American.
Hines-Ike was called on again in defense as the Zebras attacked again. In the end it came to nothing and the final whistle sounded, leaving both teams with a point for their efforts.
Yanks Abroad caught up with Hines-Ike after the game to get his take on the evening's action.
"It was a fair result against Charleroi," the Colorado native said. "We had two losses against them last year. The first half (of the game) we don't win, the second half we win. We were better in the second, they were better in the first so yeah, a fair result."
Having noticed that he was more involved in the attack in the first half than the second, he explained the reason.
"We changed the system to three in the back instead of four so I was playing more of a central role in the second half, just moving the ball and being there for their counter attacks because the last two times we played them, we lost the games in the second half to counter attacks. That is where their strength is, so we changed the system which was beneficial for us."
He continued, giving some insight on the opponents.
"Their system is to play back. They don't press much. We could feel the pressure a little bit more in the first half but after they scored they went back to their old system, sitting back and waiting."
Though three points are always better than one; "the most important this was that we scored because if we got out of this game with a 1-0 with a VAR decision, you really hang your head thinking that it wasn't deserved so to get that goal was really important. It was also important that we didn't concede a second one because there were chances where they could counter attack. But overall I'm happy with the performance."
Kortrijk will have a chance to take three points this weekend when they make the short trip up to Brugge to take on Cercle.