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Radja Nainggolan puts Antwerp in a seat with 2 goals against Lillestrøm | UEFA Europa Conference League 2022/2023

Antwerp can already smell the play-off round of the Conference League thanks to a dreamed victory on the field of Lillestrøm. The Norwegians gave more resistance than the score suggests, but 2 goals from Radja Nainggolan made the difference.

Lillestrøm – Antwerp in a nutshell:

  • Key moment: After the late equalizer shortly before half-time, Lillestrøm comes out of the dressing room with confidence. Ibrahimaj even quickly forces Butez to make a great save, but immediately afterwards the home team shoots into its own foot. Loss of the ball by Pettersson leads to Nainggolan’s 1-2.
  • Man of the match: Radja Nainggolan certainly didn’t play his best game and was even at the basis of the 1-1 with a casual loss of the ball, but more than corrected that mistake with two important goals. His first was an easy inside tap, his second was a gem.
  • Remarkable: The Antwerp defence, with Toby Alderweireld, was a house with 4 clean sheets in as many official matches this season. Tonight, without Toby Alderweireld, that series came to an end without any goals against.

Antwerp forgets to exploit mastery

Scoring after barely 4 minutes and 41 seconds, the match couldn’t have started much better for Antwerp. Miyoshi painted a corner kick on Almeida’s head, which left goalkeeper Christiansen without a chance with a good header.

The tone was immediately set: calm mastery for Antwerp and a frantic Lillestrøm running after the ball. The home team had little to nothing to say on their own field, the question of how Antwerp would do defensively without Alderweireld remained unanswered for a long time.

But despite the clear predominance, Antwerp could no longer cause danger after the early goal, there was no question of any depth. The visitors thus called for disaster and even lent Lillestrøm a hand. After Nainggolan lost the ball, a pass from Kairinen came with some luck to Knudsen, who brought the home team alongside just before half-time.

Nainggolan pushes Lillestrøm to the exit

Shortly after the break, Lillestrøm continued on his momentum. Butez had to go flat when Ibrahimaj struck from a sharp corner after a nice infiltration. The momentum seemed for the home side until Pettersson clumsily handed the ball in to Miyoshi. Balikwisha cleverly passed the low cross from the Japanese and Nainggolan was able to score easily from close range.

The start of the second half was a copy of the first with a quick Antwerp goal after just over 4 minutes. Unfortunately, the sequel also followed a similar course. “We are looking at the big nothing. So little is happening, a bit in the image of the city,” Sporza commentator Tom Boudeweel summed up.

Still, fifteen minutes before the end, it was quite a shock for Antwerp. After Miyoshi’s poor defense, Fridjonsson got an excellent chance to make it 2-2 on a pass from Helland, but he slipped the ball just wide.

Antwerp escaped, but shortly before the end Nainggolan decided the match with his second of the evening. From the crescent he curled the ball nicely past Christiansen in goal. 1-3, Antwerp can return to the Bosuil with an excellent starting position.

Nainggolan: “Now finish in a controlled manner at home and save strength”

  • Radja Nainggolan: “We controlled the match from the first to the last minute today. The 1-1 came after a small technical error by me. But if you call yourself a big team, you can still avoid that goal. There were 4 more “About 5 players who could have prevented that goal from falling. Those are small mistakes from which we have to learn. But I corrected it with two goals, that is the most important for me. 1-3 is a good result and a good starting position. We must now finish it at home in a controlled manner and save as much energy as possible, because busy weeks are coming up. We played very mature, Lillestrøm could only hurt us if we lost the ball stupidly. That early goal from Almeida was good, I thought we would could look for the 0 – 2. But Lillestrøm was quite low, we had to wait for them to put some pressure as the home side, so that we found the space to set up counterattacks. We played it out in the second half.”
  • Mark van Bommel (coach Antwerp): “This is a good result. Almeida’s early goal helped us, but I thought we were making unnecessary mistakes. That gave the opponent the feeling that there was still something to be gained. They let us make the game and waited for the counter. “If we gave a wrong pass, there were dangerous moments. We also conceded that goal just before half time. That has to be removed. In the second half we scored two beautiful goals and then you take a deserved victory here. In general, I am very satisfied with the team, except for those small things. But that is a process, it cannot be gone in one go. We also have a number of substitutions every game, but that is always handled well. If someone gives it a pain, we can give it rest. We still have to wait and see if Alderweireld will be there again on Sunday.”
  1. second half, minute 95. End. Antwerp can start the return match against Lillestrøm next week with a nice bonus. Knudsen’s equalizer made it exciting shortly before half time after Nainggolan’s clumsy loss of possession. But the same Nainggolan straightened it out with two goals in the second half. .
  2. second half, minute 95 match over
  3. second half, minute 94. Scott makes a striking substitution. Frey puts the ball back to the German and he takes it out from close by. His shot is blocked off the line by Ranger. .
  4. second half, minute 89. Substitution at Lillestrøm SK, Hendrik Langaas Skovgold in, Ylldren Ibrahimaj out
  5. second half, minute 88. Certainly not his best match, but with two goals, Nainggolan was of course decisive for Antwerp tonight. He is now replaced by Scott. .
  6. second half, minute 88. Substitution at Antwerp, Christopher Scott in, Radja Nainggolan out
  7. Goal during the second half, minute 87 by Radja Nainggolan of Antwerp. 1, 3.
  8. second half, minute 86. Nainggolan with his second of the evening! Antwerp takes a big step towards the next round, thanks to Nainggolan. From the crescent moon he curls his second of the evening wonderfully past Christiansen. .
  9. Yellow card for Anthony Valencia from Antwerp during the second half, minute 86
  10. second half, minute 85. Yellow for Valencia. The first achievement of substitute Valencia is wasting time. He immediately turns yellow. .
  11. second half, minute 83. Substitution at Lillestrøm SK, Marius Lundemo in, Kaan Kairinen out
  12. tweede helft, minute 83. Replacement by Lillestrøm SK, Tobias Svendsen is in, Hólmbert Aron Friðjónsson is out
  13. second half, minute 82. Exit Fridjonsson and Lundemo. Also at Lillestrøm they are throwing in two fresh forces. Fridjonsson and Kairinen are replaced by Svendsen and Lundemo. .
  14. second half, minute 79. Substitution at Antwerp, Birger Verstraete in, Pieter Gerkens out
  15. second half, minute 79. Substitution at Antwerp, Viktor Fischer in, Michel Ange Balikwisha out
  16. second half, minute 79. Substitution at Antwerp, Anthony Valencia in, Koji Miyoshi out
  17. second half, minute 77. Triple substitution. Van Bommel makes three substitutions. Myoshi can rest on his account with two assists and the job is also done for Balikwisha and Gerkens. Fischer, Verstraete and Valencia are their replacements. .
  18. second half, minute 75. Antwerp escapes the second goal. Suddenly Lillestrøm comes very close to the equalizer. After sloppy defending by Miyoshi, the ball comes to Helland. He provides a low cross in the turn, but Fridjonsson just can’t slide the ball into the goal at the far post. This is where Antwerp comes in particularly well. .
  19. second half, minute 73.
  20. second half, minute 73. Substitution at Lillestrøm SK, Lars Ranger in, Eskil Edh out
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