Only a win would be enough, the Buffaloes realized at the start of the home game against RWDM. After a great first half, the hosts were already 2-0 ahead thanks to goals from Cuypers and Hong. After the break, the Buffaloes controlled and substitute Tissoudali and De Sart finally recorded the 4-0 final score from the spot.
At the Buffaloes, De Sart appeared to have recovered sufficiently, so that the Liège native once again took his place in midfield. Hong was also match fit and started in support of the striker duo Cuypers-Orban. Fofana started from the left, while Tissoudali ended up on the bench. Coach Caçapa brought the expected starting team to the kick-off in the KAA Gent Arena, but soon had to make a change: Segovia dropped out and was replaced by Le Joncour.
Shortly after that substitution, Ghent put its nose into the window for the first time and it was immediately very dangerous: Torunarigha brought Orban into position and he decided face to face with Defourny on the post. Moments later, Orban was dangerous again, but this time the Nigerian managed a low cross from Fofana over Defourny’s cage.
The home players really launched a real siege on the RWDM defense, but the people of Brussels bravely held their ground and were waiting for the counter-attack through, among others, the quick-witted Koné. Substitute Le Joncour had a hard time with the Ghent pressure and simply surrendered to Hong, who immediately played Orban and then you know it will be dangerous. Once again he immediately took his chance and failed to play the free-standing Cuypers.
Things were going well for RWDM before half time because after Orban again slipped through the Brussels offside trap, he and his striker brother Cuypers were unable to score from close range despite uniting forces. Koné was a spoilsport twice, each time making a save on the line. For Le Joncour, his substitute role ended before half time with an injury, resulting in youngster Doudaev making his appearance just after the half hour.
Still, the Buffaloes ultimately went into halftime with a lead. Fofana crossed tightly and after Hong just couldn’t deviate, Cuypers followed well and kicked the ball into the net without batting an eyelid. VAR Visser briefly checked the images but ultimately gave his approval, allowing the Buffaloes to cheer a second time.
Doudaev was fortunate that he was not carded a few minutes later after tapping Fofana on the edge of the box. Ref Vergoote saw no problem with it. For RWDM it was really a matter of reaching the break at this stage of the match without sustaining additional damage, while the Ghent hosts clearly smelled blood and frantically looked for a second goal.
The visitors seemed to succeed in their aim, but in the fourth minute of added time the Buffaloes struck again: Samoise intercepted a dramatic pass from Sissako and started again. The Ghent right flank sent an excellent cross that was headed by Cuypers at Defourny, but in the restart an attentive Hong doubled the Ghent lead.
That double bonus did not immediately inspire the Buffaloes to a blistering pace after the break and the first big opportunity in the second half came from the visitors: Abner enjoyed some freedom in the Ghent sixteen but ultimately decided to go wide. On the other side, Orban also took his chance, but he also kicked – with his left foot – just wide, while Torunarigha kicked over a corner kick from Kums in one go. Watanabe’s header zoomed wide.
Ghent controlled the party, while RWDM failed to make a real impact. It all became a little less friendly: Abe got a yellow card after he kicked De Sart and Kums was also violently knocked to the ground by Sissako, but he escaped a card. Reine-Adélaide did take a yellow card after protesting.
The Buffalo’s game gradually became more relaxed as the final quarter entered and Vanhaezebrouck thought it was enough. The Ghent coach brought Gandelman, Gerkens and Tissoudali for Hong, Kums and Orban. The last match in the group stage of the Conference League awaits on Thursday. After all, AA Gent will play against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Serbia. The visitors also had three new recruits, but they were also unable to turn the tide.
Two more cheers
Ghent certainly looked for a third goal in the closing stages, but Fofana, De Sart, Cuypers and Tissoudali failed to beat Defourny again. For RWDM the game had long been over. Ultimately, the Ghent fans were able to cheer again after Abner suddenly kicked the ball into Tissoudali’s feet. The substitute Moroccan international went on an adventure and immediately scored (3-0).
This seemed to be the final chord of an unpleasant evening for the visitors, who conceded a penalty in added time when Koné brought down Gerkens on the back line. Vergoote immediately pointed to the spot and after a lengthy VAR consultation, De Sart was still allowed to take the penalty, which left Defourny without a chance: 4-0. A harsh verdict for RWDM, which never actually had the prospect of a positive result in the moderately filled KAA Gent Arena.
Line-up AA Ghent: Roof; Kandouss, Watanabe, Torunarigha; Samoise, De Sart, Hong (77′ Gerkens), Kums (77′ Gandelman), Fofana; Orban (77′ Tissoudali), Cuypers
RWDM setup: Defourny; Sissako, Segovia (10′ Le Joncour, 31′ Doudaev), Koné; Camara, Abe (82′ Da Silva), Dwomoh (82′ Gécé), Abner; Mercier (82′ Dailly), Gueye, Reine-Adélaide
Goals: 33′ Cuypers 1-0, 45 + 4′ Hong 2-0, 88′ Tissoudali 3-0, 90 + 4′ De Sart (penalty) 4-0
Yellow cards: Dwomoh, Abe, Reine-Adélaide, Sissako, Kone
Red cards: no
Referee: Jasper Vergoote