Hugo Cuypers turns provider to spark Gent’s second half comeback

After the disappointment of missing out on the top four, Gent needed to get off to a winning start in play-off two. After 45 minutes against Westerlo, it appeared that Gent were still feeling the effects of their shock defeat to Oostende. Matias Fixelles fantastic long range strike had given the away side the lead around half an hour into the game, with the Buffaloes struggling to take their chances.

However, something was clearly said by head coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck at half-time. Just seven minutes after the restart, Gent were level. Hugo Cuypers, so often the scorer for Gent this season, turned provider to set up the ever impressive Hyun-Seok Hong. Just three minutes after the 23-year-old South Korean had levelled the scores, the 35-year-old veteran Sven Kums smashed in the second.

Vanhaezebrouck had started Tarik Tissoudali ahead of the much scouted Gift Orban, but the Nigerian did enter the fray with 15 minutes to go. Just over 10 minutes later, Orban had his goal. Cuypers was again involved, winning a header to lay it off to Orban, who characteristically powered the ball past former Gent goalkeeper Sinan Bolat.

In front of a sparse crowd at the Ghelamco Arena, Gent got their play-off campaign off to the perfect start. However, they will need to consistently perform like they did in the second-half if they want to come top of the four team group. They now open up a five point lead over Westerlo, but Standard Liege and Cercle Brugge have a chance to close in on Gent when they face each other on Saturday afternoon.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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