Pride at Club (bis): the expected Bruges blunder


Two official games, two defeats. Club Brugge had undoubtedly imagined the start of the new football season differently. The current Belgian national champion lost the cup final to Antwerp FC and Blauw-Zwart was also beaten in the competition against Sporting Charleroi. Especially the way in which Ryota Morioka scored the winning goal for the Carolos was hallucinatory.


Nevertheless, Club Brugge got off to a very good start on Saturday. In the initial phase, first 45 minutes of the game, the team of coach Philippe Clement was lord and master, and that translated into an enormous high Bruges’ possession of no less than 75%. During the first half hour, too eight attempts noted towards Nicolas Penneteau’s goal, and surprisingly they came through eight different stations. Youssouph Badji, Simon Deli, Brandon Mechele, Edouard Sobol, Ruud Vormer, Clinton Mata, Emmanuel Dennis and Eder Balanta, however, did not succeed.

The visitors from the Black Land could do little in return. After ten minutes on the clock, Shamar Nicholson faintly headed a corner from Ryota Morioka into the arms of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, but it was nothing more than a warm-up for the national number two. Club Brugge clearly showed more hunger and fighting spirit than during the lost cup final against Antwerp FC. At the time, the current national champion was accused of a certain degree of pride or even arrogance, but originally little was noticeable against the Zebras. Until that much-discussed minute 78 …

Incomprehensible MECHELE

Emperor, à la Franz Beckenbauer, Brendon Mechele advanced with the ball, ready to see which teammate he would soon play. But Charleroi did not make it easy for the sober defender as all pass lines were carefully closed. At least on the right side of the field, the direction in which Mechele was already turned. Clinton Mata was mated to Mamadou Fall, while Emmanuel Dennis was positioned too far to be played without risk. However, the room was on the left, where Federico Ricca was unmanned.

Slightly temporizing and cutting to the left: that was the only logical next step for the usually reliable and risk-free Mechele, but the choice fell on captain Ruud Vormer, who was set up several meters from the defender. Mechele’s quick pass, with the outside on the right, was easily intercepted by Ryota Morioka and a few seconds later the 0-1 was on the board. An incomprehensible blunder by Mechele, who is nevertheless known as a sober defender who shuns such risks. A wrong pass can of course always happen, but the nonchalant manner was especially striking.


Outside of the foot, it is one of the biggest annoyances among football coaches at the highest level – and certainly already at the heart of the defense. But despite the casual way in which Mechele lost the ball, the credits go to the effort of Morioka. From minute one, the Charleroi playmaker was looking forward to that one moment of carelessness, the Japanese explained in front of the cameras of Eleven Sports. “I worked towards that one moment since the start of the game. Then the time had finally come, I felt he could make a mistake. ”

At Club Brugge, everyone immediately protected the unfortunate Mechele. “That’s the drama of central defenders and goalkeepers. If they make a mistake, it is usually fatal. By the way, I thought Brandon was playing a very good game ”, Philippe Clement showed his people management. “He was the best player at Club Brugge. I told him that too. Such a mistake can happen to anyone. Certainly not a stone to Brandon ”, it sounded at times with Simon Mignolet. No hard feelings for Mechele.


After the lost cup final against Antwerp, Club Brugge faced a lot of criticism for their arrogant way of playing football. The current national champion did not originally seem to relapse against Sporting Charleroi in the same mistake, which makes Mechele’s rare slippage all the more painful. Before minute 78, Blauw-Zwart was still in full control of the game, and everyone knows that catching up against Charleroi is an almost impossible task. Coach Karim Belhocine’s team proved this several times in the previous football season.

The technical staff of Club Brugge will also have emphasized enough that Charleroi is a master of interception. Last season, the Carolos were – after AA Gent – the team that made it most number of interceptions per match could realize. And more importantly: Riyota Morioka was then, after Franck Boya (then at Mouscron now AA Gent), the midfielder who could intercept the most per game. And it is precisely the Japanese who could take the ball away from the usually reliable Brandon Mechele …


It must be said, Morioka did not play the best game of his career on Jan Breydel on Saturday. Due to the lack of Massimo Bruno, the Japanese could not act on his favorite number six where he acted at an excessive level last season. Belhocine opted for Guillaume Gillet and Marco Ilaimaharitra as central midfielders, pushing Morioka up one row in support of deepest man Shamar Nicholson. A logical choice for Belhocine because Morioka can contribute more to that position than Gillet and / or Ilaimaharitra.

But it clearly took some getting used to again for the former player of RSC Anderlecht and Waasland-Beveren. The game of the Japanese contained a striking amount of waste, as evidenced by his successful passing, which at 75% was five percent lower than his previous seasonal average. In addition, Morioka was also guilty of frequent ball loss, which also assumed greater proportions than last year. In addition, Morioka was barely able to intercept two times, which is four less than his average during the previous season. But one interception turned out to be enough to score, win and be proclaimed ‘Man of the Match’.


The way in which Club Brugge’s painful goal was scored was surprising but at the same time certainly avoidable. First, Brandon Mechele played the ball far too laconically on Ruud Vormer, while the logical solution was on the left side where Federico Ricca had plenty of space. Mechele, however, only had an eye for the right part of the field, and intelligent Riyota Morioka as such noticed.

The Japanese had been patiently anticipating such situations since minute one, and as one of the best recuperators of the Jupiler Pro League, he succeeded in his goal. It seems strongly that the technical staff of Club Brugge did not mention Morioka’s recovery capacity – and by extension the entire team of Charleroi – during the analysis of the opponent, which only makes Mechele’s action more dramatic and incomprehensible.

Nevertheless, the game picture at Club Brugge was promising before Mechele started to flatter. Blauw-Zwart clearly drew from a different tune than during the lost cup final against Antwerp FC. It seemed only a matter of time before Club scored the opening goal. But then Mechele single-handedly gave the clever Morioka a free pass, and also through one of the Japanese’s strongest points: the ball recovery. Outside of the foot, haughty. With the best recuperator of the Jupiler Pro League less than two meters away… With all the consequences that entails.

POLL: Is Mechele an overrated football player?


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