Union St Gilloise end 110 year wait for third Belgian Cup victory

Union St Gilloise have finally ended their 110 year wait to lift a third Belgian Cup. The side won back to back cup finals in 1913 and 1914, but have failed to lift the trophy since. Yet on Thursday afternoon they finally ended that long drought with a 1-0 victory over Antwerp in front of a fantastic atmosphere at the Heysel in Brussels.

After an even first half with few chances, Union finally broke the deadlock just before the break. From a corner, Japanese defender Koki Machida stabbed home to make it 1-0. It was well taken by the centre-back, but Antwerp will certainly have been asking why striker Vincent Janssen wasn’t on the post as he should have been. Had he been tighter to the woodwork, he would have been able to clear it off the line.

Despite heavy Antwerp pressure, the Great Old could not find a way back into the game. The defending cup and league champions were almost hit on the break late on when striker Mohamed Amoura raced through, only to fire his shot wide. Thankfully for the Algerian forward, his miss was not punished. Minutes later, the full-time whistle was blown and Alexander Blessin and the rest of his team were able to run onto the pitch to celebrate.

This will feel like Union have finally fully returned to being a force in Belgian football. The side, who only returned to the Pro League three seasons ago, have come close twice to winning the league but have fallen short. This season they looked set to win it again but have been poor during the play-offs. Regardless of whether or not they win their first title since 1935, this cup victory will suffice.

On the other hand, the Mark van Bommel era at Antwerp ends without a trophy. The Dutch head coach won the double last year but the side have not looked terribly close to repeating the league victory this time around. They were therefore reliant on the cup win to give themselves some silverware but a lack of guile up front cost them in the final.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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