Club Brugge moves within points of top as they deliver another blow to Saint Union #2106

Eliot Ben-Ner
The Football Hub
Published in
9 min readApr 22, 2024

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Club Brugge 2 Union St 1FT

The Belgian Pro league continues to have an extremely tight title race during this second phase of the season. In the Champions round We find ourselves in a situation with four different teams having the possibility of winning the title. All of these matches are extremely important. They are just seven matches remaining before a champion will be crowned. Anderlecht currently leads the pile with 38 points, Union has 35, Genk has 34 and Club Brugge has 33. It is all extremely close. Top of the table Anderlecht was beaten by Genk on Saturday. On Sunday it would be a huge opportunity for Club Brugge close the gap or for Union to possibly level points at the top of the table. On Sunday afternoon in a small stadium of only 9,400 at the Joseph Marien Stadium third place Union would host fourth place Club Brugge with huge implications of the title. As we know Union finished top of the table in the first portion of the season. They had a six-point advantage at the top prior to the second phase of the season. In the championship round. They have completely collapsed and embarrassed themselves with three consecutive losses. After losing the derby last weekend. They have loosened their grip and no longer sit on the top of the pile. As they were on the verge of putting together a historic collapse. They have finished second the last two seasons and last year lost it in the final moments of the campaign. They don’t want to lose another chance at the title. The fans have been waiting too long. They have not won a title since 1934. They want to change that but if they’re going to do that and they need to start getting themselves into gear. Meanwhile Club Brugge is unbeaten in the round thus far. They have won three of their last five matches. They have also made it into a European semi-final in the conference League as they will play against Italian side Fiorentina. Club Brugge already has beaten Anderlecht who sit top of the table. These two teams met most recently in the cup to which Club Brugge was silenced suffering a 2-1 defeat But despite losing did win the cup tie over the two legs. Their previous match in the league was a draw. Union have slept and continues to do so. However, a chance of redemption in the playoff round as they are at home in front of their fans as they battle with Club Brugge as they try to jump them in the standings, It is third against fourth.

Being in such a small stadium sometimes can go on their advantage. As most of the bigger clubs in Belgium are not used to that aspect. Union aiming for an aggressive start after losing their way in the Brussels Derby. In the second minute Gustaf Nilsson catchers from close range as he misses the mark from close. In the 5th minute they were in a dangerous position again Matthias Rasmussen delivers for Cameron Puertas as his attempt was denied by Jackers. In the 11th minute Club Brugge Hits back. Coming off a corner Hugo Vetlesen header drags wide. It seemed as if Union have been in control but as we’ve seen this season Club Brugge have been able to find the critical moments when it matters. In the 15th minute Cameron Puertas another chance from inside the box but once again not having the necessary conviction to take the lead. 2 minutes later Loic Lapoussin tests it from range but Jackers comes up with the save. As we began to get later in the first half Club Brugge continues to try to get Antonio Nusa involved. Following a few blocked shots He finds himself in splice from close range as he drags his effort wide in the 38th minute. In the 43rd minute Hans Vanaaken header drags coming off a corner. In the 45th amendment, Union got themselves a pair of chances. Loic Lapoussin looked for the lone ranger as he is denied then Rasmussen suffered the same. The first half comes to a close without a goal yet. Union looking the stronger the two but we all know Club Brugge Is known for finding critical goals and what is a huge 45 minutes ahead.

Union has bendy better of the two sides thus far. However, at home in front of their home fans, a huge chance is sitting there for them. However, what we witnessed is a truly twisted turn of events 10 minutes into the second half. In the 55th minute. Anthony Morris grabbed possession as he was on his way to punting it down the pitch Hugo Vetlesen impressed him at the top of the box as the ball left It deflected off the attacker rolling in the back of the net as Club Brugge took a 1-0 lead. A tremendous error that could play a big role in the deterioration of their title charge. To make an error of that level in a match like this, that means so much is just horrendous. There’s not even a defense of it. Club Brugge after the mistake starts picking up a level of momentum. In the 58th minute Bjorn Meijer gets his head on the end of a cross from close range coming from the corner as he misses the mark. Club Brugge attempted to slow down the pace of the match to possibly favor them in getting a narrow result. They managed to do this quite well until the 65th minute when the tides started to change slightly. Club Brugge would be reduced to 10 men with a second yellow card being shown to Hugo Vetlesen. In the 67th minute Union look to cash in through the air Alessio Castro sends a cross into Loic Lapoussin He hits it from a difficult angle firing to the left. In the 72nd minute Union’s difference Maker Cameron Puertas follows through from the left side of the box by Union couldn’t hook it in a still looking for that equalizer Just as they were picking up a level of momentum, they were slashed just a few minutes later. In the 74th minute coming from a corner delivered by Maxim De Cuyper he finds Bjorn Meijer as he slides his head against the ball into the top right corner Club Brugge increases their advantage to take a 2–0 lead. The massive mistake having played a part in the shift, even short-handed fines. The moment they were truly looking for. Union is on the verge of dropping the fourth consecutive match in the playoff round, which only damages their chance. Further. If this stands, they’ll be thanking their lucky stars for Genk’s performance Saturday. As it happens though Union would find a way back into it even if it would not be leaving them premium time to pull it off. In the 82nd minute Cameron Puertas on a free kick from outside the box hits and absolute scorcher from distance into the top left corner as they minimize the deficit. With 8 minutes left to go plus stoppage time, maybe there’s at least a chance there for a point to be grabbed. In the 85th minute Union tried to work it inside the box Kevin Rodriguez, however, saw his attempt running to the opposing defense and deflected away. A few minutes after that in the 87th minute we would see something very similar Cameron Puertas hits a strike from inside the box in a dangerous position. However, once again strong defending came into play. At the end The full-time goes as Club Brugge comes into Union to deliver a big blow as they LeapFrog them into second in the league with only two points off of the top and what has been a big swing of momentum for the teams regarding the title race as Union’s situation. Worsens with that elusive title slipping through their fingers.

What an unbelievable disaster this has truly turned into for Union. To a certain degree, they were the stronger team for much of the 90 minutes they played at home. A huge altering goalkeeping mistake followed up by a set peace goal from the visitors have put them in this truly unfortunate position, but on top of that dug themselves further in the sand. Union finished the first part of the season six points clear. They have played four matches in the playoff round. They have lost all four of them. They still continue to sit on 35 points. They have left 12 points on the table. This season. Could look vastly different had they not hit a snag at the worst possible moment. They just got beat at home by a team in Club Brugge that finished the first part of the season in 6th. The goal difference that they earned this season is actually the only reason they have found themselves in the playoff round to begin with. If it wasn’t goal difference they would have been in the European round playoff. Now they have a leapfrog themselves into title content. They are not supposed to be in this situation right now based on the season they had throughout the campaign. It truly did not deserve it either. They have been vastly disappointing and even though they ended up in the playoff round, no one truly expected anything to come of them and them participating in it. The other five teams that are involved in this were significantly better this season. However, because of the way the league is set up, there is a certain level of opportunity. What we saw on the pitch on Sunday is one team having taken full advantage of it. They have beaten both Union and Anderlecht They are only two points from the top of the table and could against the odds win the title. I believe that Anderlecht Will inevitably win the league. That would be my prediction. They lack a bit of consistency, but they can find ways to win in ways we have not seen from the others in this thus far. I think based on the first half of the season they have deserved it and have played fairly well in the four games they have played other than Saturday’s loss. However, it’s Boomer bus now for Union. The goalkeeping mistake at the start of the second half truly killed them. There’s less to be upset about about the set piece that they conceded. This put them in a position where they were kicked in the stomach because of the initial mistake that led to a goal. It is clear that although Morris has had his moments, he has not been that fantastic this season. He has been the weakest link of this team. His Match rating average over this season has not been all that impressive. They can still come back and do this. They’re going to need a little help and thankfully they’re only three points out. In the blink of an eye they can climb the table. However. To be the team leading the table and then lose their next four matches is truly devastating as we’re seeing a possible collapse on our hands. They have not won the title since 1935. They have come close their last two seasons this season. They have been in a perfect position to finish the job and finally win the title, but honestly their horrid start to the playoff round is not helping their situation and we may be seeing a historic collapse on our hands, especially with their fourth straight defeat. Meanwhile for Club Brugge an unlikely title. Maybe on the horizons if they keep this going.

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