KV Mechelen has placed itself in a soaking wet Guldenspor stadium for the semi-finals of the Belgian Cup. Sandy Walsh scored the only goal of the game in the very last minute. A great sporting boost after the also good extra-sporting news about the capital increase earlier in the evening.
In the last two weeks of January, KV Kortrijk will play three vital duels against Seraing, KV Mechelen and Ostend in the battle for relegation. But Bernd Storck, who had won his first two duels as head coach of the Kerels, simply sent his type team into the meadow against KV Mechelen. Due to circumstances Steven Defour did not feel like rotation either. He therefore opted for the same eleven players in Kortrijk who suffered a fairly hopeless defeat in Waregem last weekend. It was positive that Gustav Engvall was back in the competition squad for the first time since August. Furthermore, the bank was once again very young, with Frederic Soelle Soelle, who had just turned 17, as an exponent.
In a slow start to the game, David Bates unwittingly caused the first commotion. After miscommunication with goalkeeper Thoelen, he pushed the ball just wide of his own goal. The Scottish defender had a difficult first half. He got away well when referee Jasper Vergoote gave the ball advantage after a drawing error on Selemani on the edge of the box. Thoelen had to distinguish himself again on an attempt by Bruno and Avenatti headed a beckoning chance wide. But in the end of the first half, the best chances were for the visitors. Malede just couldn’t reach a low cross from Nikola Storm. A handful of minutes later, Malinwa even created a triple giant chance. Van Hoorenbeeck hit goalkeeper Vandenberghe from close range, Watanebe took Bates’ rebound off the line. In the equalizer, Malede curled the ball just wide. Halfway through it was still 0-0.
Match winner Walsh
Immediately after the break, KV Kortrijk had an excellent opportunity through Bruno. Thoelen pushed his attempt into the feet of Sych, but he hit the rebound from outside the box high over. Mechelen also immediately created a great opportunity. After a nice collective attack, Da Cruz unfortunately kicked Walsh’s excellent cross wide. Just past the hour, Bruno’s spectacular bicycle attempt flew a meter wide of Thoelen’s goal. Vandenberghe had no problem with a place ball from Schoofs on the other side. Storck had meanwhile thrown newcomers Wasinksi and Regali to the lions. At Mechelen, Van Hecke had come to replace the hard-working Malede. In a soaking wet and underprivileged second half, both teams seemed to settle for extra time.
But seven seconds before the end of the 90 minutes it still happened. After great preparation by Da Cruz and Hairemans, right back Sandy Walsh blasted KV Mechelen to the semi-finals after an ultimate effort. KV Kortrijk fell for the sixth time in ten years in the quarterfinals. “One thing is certain, we will win the Cup”, it sounded in the visitors’ section. KV Mechelen goes to the semi-finals for the eleventh time in club history. A great sporting boost after the also good extra-sporting news about the capital increase earlier in the evening.