Anyone familiar with the Belgian competition – and anyone not familiar as well – wouldn't jump for joy, should they get a ticket to see Cercle Bruges play against Ghent. After Saturday’s game, I can’t blame them.
Ghent is a club with the ambition to win the title in the coming years, but the past seasons have shown that they are far from ready, finishing eighth last season, and seventh before that, at times even walking the line of relegation, before climbing back up in the final months. This time round, they should do better. The club brought in proven players and a manager who can bring stability to a team, and who can put down a strong organization quickly.
Cercle on the other hand narrowly avoided relegation two seasons past, and finished near the bottom last year as well. Their ambition is not to win the league, but to stay in it, and try to reach that safe spot as soon as possible.
It was however Cercle who went on the attack, playing quick and efficient football. They did not hold on to their form for long, and sunk into the swamp of struggle, Ghent beside them, just that bit deeper. Both teams tried to find their flow, but couldn't even find each other, resulting in one lousy pass after another, and no real chances throughout the first half.
Ghent came out of the catacombs with the will to break open the game, and charged forward, showing some signs of attacking quality, but again only for fifteen minutes or so. Cercle took over again, and what followed were a decent twenty minutes of football, both teams pinching instead of punching, with no goals to show at the end of the game. 0 – 0, and a match to be forgotten soon.