There was some slight nervousness in Leuven after two consecutive defeats against KV Kortrijk. It didn’t get any less after an unquestionably weak first half at Westerlo, but fortunately for OH Leuven there is always Mario Gonzalez. The Spaniard decided the game in five minutes and now has thirteen goals in fifteen games. The Westelse tying goal (1-2) was of no avail.
They were prophetic words. OH Leuven coach Marc Brys said in the run-up to the match against Westerlo “we don’t have to win a beauty prize, but we do have to win the match”. Now that Mathieu Maertens is one of his most important players out with a foot injury, Brys wants to focus even more on collectivity and group spirit.
It didn’t take long for OHL to get its first chance to take the lead. Mendyl, however, aimed high over. After that, Westerlo became increasingly dominant to eventually end the first half with no less than 66 percent possession, but it remained with half chances for the Kemphanen. Dierckx came with a harmless shot, Van den Keybus aimed over and Foster kicked goalkeeper Cojocaru.
Brys became increasingly busy during a first half in which his team was under, played sloppy and made unfortunate choices. “Fucking hell man”, he grumbled when the ball was tapped backwards again at a time when verticality had to be chosen. Shortly before the break, the team from Leuven were finally dangerous again when Thorsteinsson decided on goalkeeper Bolat.
At halftime, Brys had clearly put everything on edge again. His men came quickly out of the dressing room and that immediately led to a goal. Mendyl brought to Gonzalez, who got half a meter of space from Tagir. You shouldn’t give that to him. The Spaniard easily tapped the 0-1 in goal and five minutes later also decorated a penalty kick in a duel with Bolat. Gonzalez himself took place behind the ball and chased the 0-2 into the left corner unsustainably. He decided the game in five minutes. Thanks Mario, Brys must have thought. His goal thief is now thirteen goals in fifteen games.
Red for Mendyl
Ten minutes before time, there was suddenly another match. The substitute Vetokele tapped through to Nene, who skillfully made 1-2. Westerlo started another final offensive and that became more relevant when OHL fell with ten five minutes before the end after a red card for Mendyl, who tackled without a ball and only just returned from suspension. However, OHL held out with its tens.
Not the beauty prize, but the competition for OHL. Although we have to say that after the break we saw a completely different team. In the end it was all so ugly and not so bad. What will it matter to the people of Leuven in the end? Few. The victory in what was previously described as a “six-point match” in the battle for the play-offs is a fact.
goals: 51′ Gonzalez (Mendyl) 0-1, 56′ Gonzalez (strafschop) 0-2, 79′ Nene (Vetokele) 1-2
Westerlo: Bolat, Jordanov, Neustaedter (90′ Vaesen), Tagir, De Cuyper, Van den Keybus, Madsen, Fixelles (66′ Vetokele), Dierckx (74′ Seigers), Foster, Nene
OHL: Cojocaru, Patris, Pletinckx, Ricca, Mendyl, Keita (46′ Kiyine), De Norre, Schrijvers (83′ Malinov), Tamari (90′ Vlietinck), Thorsteinsson (88′ Dom), Gonzalez
Yellow cards: 36′ Patris, 52′ Van den Keybus, 55′ Bolat, 77′ Neustaedter, 77′, Schrijvers
Red cards: 84’ Mendyl
Referee: William Smith