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Union refuels with a deserved victory against Charleroi for a duel with Rangers

Four days before the important home match against Rangers FC in the preliminary round of the Champions League, Union has had a great dress rehearsal. The vice champion won 1-0 against Charleroi on Friday evening. Ross Sykes scored the only goal of the match early in the second half after a clever infiltration. Union starts the competition with four out of six, Charleroi has one point less.

Against Charleroi, Karel Geraerts was allowed to coach his troops for the first time in front of his own audience. And that against the team where he himself ended his playing career in 2016. “I can’t wait”, said the Limburger in advance. An enthusiasm that he also passed on to his players: Union immediately took matters into their own hands and pressed Charleroi with its back against the wall. The vice champion dictated the law, but real concrete target danger was scarce. Opportunities for Sykes and Adingra were not taken at first, and Bart Nieuwkoop also saw the best chance of the first half – a header from close range – parried by Koffi. Charleroi lurked on the counter. And halfway through the first half, that was almost successful: Kayembe was able to strike but saw his shot blocked by Sykes.

Back to Union then, because Charleroi showed little or nothing. Simon Adingra, the hero at Union last week, showed himself very eager in his dribbling. Explosive and fast: it certainly is. But a copper? That clearly less: striker brother Vanzeir presented him with a perfect cross, but the Ivorian was unable to frame up close. 0-0 at half time.

Foto:  Isosport

The second half immediately brought more enthusiasm: Charleroi was the first team to threaten, but Moris had a nice parade on a place ball from Ilaimaharitra. Just as the Zebras looked set to get underway, Union struck: centre-back Ross Sykes infiltrated the box, set up a one-two with Vanzeir and finished off neatly with a crossed shot: 1-0.

Not Charleroi, but Union went looking for a new goal. But without success: Teddy Teuma came the closest with a beautiful free kick, but Koffi had an equally clever reflex in store. Charleroi could do very little against it and returns to the black country with a disappointing result. Union starts the new season with a great 4 out of 6 and actually gets off to a better start than last season, although Union did open against Anderlecht and Club.

Union: Moris, Nieuwkoop, Burgess, Sykes, Van der Heyden, Amani, Teuma (84′ Puertas), Lynen, Lapoussin (84′ Dony), Vanzeir (90′ François), Adingra (64′ Ziani)

Charleroi: Koffi, Knezevic, Andreou, Bessilé, Nkuba (61′ Mbenza), Zorgane (85′ Heymans), Ilaimaharitra, Morioka (76′ Gholizadeh), Kayembe, Zaroury, Badji (61′ Benbouali)

Goals: 56’ Sykes (Vanzeir) 1-0

Yellow cards: 20′ Nieuwkoop, 45′ Amani, 61′ Ilaimaharitra

Red cards: no

Referee: Nicolas Laforge

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