The clouds over the Ghelamco Arena are again slightly less dark. Thanks to a smooth 3-0 win against an appallingly poor KV Mechelen, the Buffalos can breathe a sigh of relief. Still, the flag can’t go out in the Ghelamco Arena yet. A real test will follow next Wednesday at Union. Malinwa, meanwhile, is increasingly in dirty papers in the ranking and urgently needs to get back on track.
The message from AA Gent chairman Ivan De Witte after the 4-2 humiliation on a visit to Djurgarden was clear: the time for apologies is over. It was therefore looking forward to the reaction of the Ghent player group. Nevertheless, the first danger came from the visitors: Storm reached the back line and served Schoofs, but he decided on Kums. In the restart, Verstraete blasted the ball into the side net.
The Buffalos responded immediately. Hong got Coucke in trouble for a while, but the Malinwa goalkeeper was able to turn the South Korean’s header in front of the line. The home team monopolized the ball but spectacle remained a scarce item in the Ghelamco Arena. Okumu came close to a goal halfway through the first half, but the Kenyan curled a Nurio ball in one time just a meter next to Coucke’s cage.
After the recent 1 on 9, Malinwa couldn’t exactly convince in that first half, though they were certainly not embarrassed by the Buffalos. Storm was unable to continue offensively and Da Cruz saw all the colors of the rainbow during his duels against the Ghent defensive trio. The pace was also very slow, so that the spectators present soon looked a bit bored.
Just after half an hour there was excitement: Hong brought the ball in front of the goal and Cuypers forced Coucke to make a great save, but in the rebound Samoise pushed the ball into the goal through Bolingoli’s body. A hard blow for the Maneblussers who eventually went to rest with that 1-0 deficit.
Despite the mediocre game of football before half-time, both coaches ultimately opted for the same teams. The assignment for Malinwa became even more difficult when Verstraete took down the broken Nurio and was shown red by ref Boterberg. The VAR intervened, but Boterberg stuck to his decision, which meant that Verstraete was soon able to take a shower.
Ten-headed Mechelen undergoes law of the strongest
Gent immediately failed to translate that numerical majority into a second goal: Ngadeu nevertheless got an excellent chance to score his first goal of the season, but Coucke saved in the end with a swift foot reflex. Moments later it was again warm for Coucke’s cage but this time Okumu headed over from very close range.
Buijs brought in an extra attacker on the hour with Ngoy for Hairemans. An example of Dutch bravado, you know. Meanwhile, on the other side, Odjidja failed to decide the game. However, the Ghent captain had a good chance of scoring, but the midfielder went wide.
Suspension of execution because when Hong appropriately guided Samoise through the Mechelen offside trap, the ball ended up via Coucke in Nurio’s feet, who reacted just a little faster than Peyre and deposited the ball in the empty goal. Immediately the first goal for the Angolan since August 29, 2021, when AA Gent won 6-1 against Club Brugge.
It almost immediately became 3-0, but Cuypers decided – on the advice of an otherwise moderate Odjidja – on Coucke. Moments later, Odjidja was able to cheer. He set up the attack himself, involved Hong well, who crowned his excellent match with a fine assist, and then left Coucke without a chance.
Substitute Malede hit the outside of the post and that other substitute Hauge also narrowly missed. Meanwhile, the Ghent public are starting the Mexican Wave. An unexpectedly cheerful high point of an otherwise very eventful week in the Ghent football family.
AA Gent setup: Nardi; Okumu, Ngadeu, Torunarigha; Samoise, Kums (75′ Hjulsager), Owusu (58′ De Sart), Nurio (78′ Godeau); Odjidja (75′ Hauge), Hong; Cuypers (75′ Depoitre)
Lineup KV Mechelen: Coucke; Walsh, Peyre, Bates, Bolingoli (73′ Van Hecke); Hairemans (60′ Ngoy), Verstraete, Van Lerberghe, Schoofs (82′ Oum Gouet), Storm (73′ Hernandez); Da Cruz (73′ Malede)
Goals: 35 ‘Samoise 1-0, 64’ Nurio 2-0, 72 ‘Odjidja 3-0
Yellow cards: Bolingoli, Owusu, Da Cruz, Walsh
Red cards: 49′ Verstraete
Referee: Jan Boterberg