FC Slovan Liberec | Report: Liberec - Gent 1:0
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Europa League, Group stage: Slovan Liberec – KAA Gent 1:0

After a long break, football returned to U Nisy Stadium. And it was not just any match, as visiting Liberec were the Belgian side from Gent. From the beginning, Slovan were on the defensive and waited for counter opportunities. The reward came in the 29th minute, when Júsuf hit from in close. The Liberec defence gave a sterling performance and secured everything in the back with some key saves by Nguyen. In the end, Slovan could rejoice after a close 1-0 victory!
GROUP L, Thursday 22.10.2020, 21:00
Liberec Liberec
Liberec: Nguyen - Koscelník, Jugas, Tijani, Mikula (C) - Hromada (79. Chaluš), Mara - Mosquera, Beran (57. Sadílek), Pešek (68. Matoušek) - Yusuf (57. Rabušic).
Gent: Roef - Castro-Montes, Ngadeu, Hanche-Olsen, Fortuna (87. Plastun) - Marreh - Botaka (76. Niangbo), Kums (C), Bukari - Kleindienst (76. Depoitre), Yaremchuk.
Goal: 29. Yusuf. Yellow cards: 45+1. Beran - 34. Marreh, 68. Yaremchuk, 89. Hanche-Olsen. Referees: M. Schuettengruber - R. Brandner, R. Steinacher.


The kick-off of the match was taken by the away side, who at the beginning were more in control of the ball. In the fourth minute, the Belgians worked out the first corner of the match, Júsuf managed to turn away more than twice and then Slovan countered on a quick break. Ghent withstood the attack, which was followed by a corner and an errant header by Júsuf. In the ninth minute, Nguyen made an excellent save. On the left side, one of the Ghent players escaped and served an ideal pass to Bukari, who did not mature from the vicinity of the Liberec goalkeeper. Another danger came in the 11th minute Yaremchuk rushed the defence and advanced alone on the goal. He tried to turn Nguyen over, but he was a few inches shy of the post.

Slovan created a huge opportunity in the 21st minute. Mosquera led a promising rush and advanced to the area, before unfortunately losing his balance and falling. Beran, who found Júsuf free in the middle, hurried to help him, his shot blocked just in front of the goalkeeper by one of the defenders. The bar rang in the 28th minute! There was confusion in front of the Slovan goal and Fortuna created space to shoot, this time well wide. However, almost immediately, Ghent's answer came. A pass from the wing fell to Koscelník, who didn't hesitate and fired. His shot was well off-target, but it ended up on the foot of Júsuf Hilál, who didn’t hesitate from six yards out and sent Slovan into the lead, 1-0.

Four minutes before halftime, Bukar decided to use a scissor kick for an acrobatic attempt, but he just missed Ngyen's goal. Ghent tried to level before the break, after a quick transition to attack they advanced in numbers. Fortunately for Slovan, they didn’t execute perfectly, presulting in only a corner kick, which Slovan recovered. After the first half, Slovan led 1-0.

Both teams jumped into the second half without changes, with the first chance created by the guests. Kleindienst tried to break through the middle repeatedly, but couldn't get past the visitors' defence. The look of the game did not change much, with Ghent on the ball most of the time and the Liberec team defending and waiting for opportunities. With 59 minutes played, the visitors broke through on the right after some poor defending. Fortuna got another chance, just overshooting the crossbar. Ghent gradually increased the pressure and Slovan had trouble getting possession.

Just before the 70-minute mark, Slovan pushed Ghent a bit and earned a few corner kicks, but none of them significantly endangered Roef. In the 76th minute, Mosquera took over the standard situation and aimed with a sharp shot right next to the right corner of the Belgian goal. Eleven minutes before full time, he made his way to Depoitre's header, and Nguyen had to make a great save with an acrobatic kick. In the 87th minute, Kums found Niangba behind the defence, Nguyen ran out in time and stared down another threat. The Liberec defence remained steady until the end and Ghent weren’t able to seriously threaten again. Slovan could therefore rejoice after the opening match of the group stage of the Europa League with a close 1-0 victory!

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