Jupiler Pro LeagueAA Gent played an overwhelming run against Al Ittihad, with an excellent football mix. As I often did. But as before, once again gnawing at the sand for the sixth time already, the charming buffalo football is in sharp contrast to its place in the standings.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck described Union’s win at AA Gent as a “real delay”. We can partially follow Hein on this. His team played with league leaders Union away for one half, as it did not happen with the Brussels team earlier this season. Gent hit the target four times in one match, exactly as many as 10 other teams in 1A during 13 matches. Al Ittihad goalkeeper Maurice was excellent, and his teammate Sinan Polat watched exactly three balls come between the two posts: one field goal, a converted penalty, and one simple pass. At the end of the first half, Ghent had a possession percentage of 72%, peaking at 78% in the middle of the first half.
AA Gent deserves all the credit for the way she tries to dominate each opponent, but the lack of competence breaks down a lot. Aside from all the other chances, the penalty against Union could have been a turning point, but with all his experience and his kicking technique, Odjidja squandered this opportunity against the crossbar. Gent has already missed his three penalties this season.
“We can’t ignore those missed hits, not this year nor last year either,” Hein Vanheisbrück realizes. “Our top scorer is Bezos, but he hasn’t insisted because he’s been sick for the past two days. Roman has already missed one, in Kortrijk. We don’t have a specialist in absolute penalties, while other clubs sometimes have three or four. Should we? Now looking for a penalty kick specialist? He can. But then he must also be a person in the beginning. If a person is able to convert penalties, but does not have the qualities of playing for 90 minutes in the first 11 minutes, it will not help you.”
AA Gent receives compliments almost every week, also from a discount. Two weeks ago, Stefan Kramer commented, “Eupen played against one of the best teams in the country and the result will soon prove that.” “Even after this defeat, I still say that Ghent is the team that will compete for the title,” Phyllis Matsu announced Sunday after the union’s victory.
Beautiful words are all, but the reality is what it is. This reality contrasts sharply with the beautiful football of the Buffalo team. Gent suffered his sixth defeat this season against Al Ittihad. With 17 of 39 he is in the belly of the rankings. Thus the progress that had begun was thwarted again.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck doesn’t think this is affecting his team’s confidence. “But I told the players before the game: If we lose to Al Ittihad, we might not catch them. We are now eleven points behind them. This is a suit in a team with advantages and I don’t see a setback anytime soon. That might still be a sideline, but I think we won’t catch Al Ittihad. anymore. If you’ve set your ambitions in the first match, that means you’ll have to keep up with the other teams. And I’m not giving up on that, because we’re closer to that. Unless the federation isn’t doing a playoff 1. But there’s a good chance that Ghent won’t. That too.”
Philippe Clement once compared the poor finish in Club Brugge to a bottle of ketchup: “Everything will soon be sprinkled.” We also have that feeling at AA Gent: Great football often, chances are galore. The only question is who squeezes the bottle?
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