Buffalo soldiers

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120Saturday February 2nd 2013, Kick Off 18:00, at the Jules Ottenstadion.
Belgium Jupiler Pro League.
KAA Gent (White/Blue) 2-1 Beerschot AC (Purple/Purple), HT 1-0, attendance 10,786, admission 26 Euro, no
prog or teamsheet

We left this one a little tight, as we had been drinking in the excellent (but busy) ‘The Waterhuis’ by the canal in Gent centre until 5pm. Then had a wait at the tram stop about 150 yards from there. A slow journey on the tram meant arrival just as they kicked off, thankfully we had tickets pre-booked. The capacity of the soon to be vacated ‘Jules Ottenstadion’ is 12,919, and ‘most’ of the available spaces on the day were in the away end.

Two very steeped raked stands were located either side of pitch, with two lower pitched covered terraces behind the goals, the home terrace behind the goal to our left. And terracing, converted to seating at the other end for away fans, who stood, 4/500 or so of them today. These two ends created great acoustics.
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Our seats were down the front of the stand, literally hanging from the top-tier over the lower, a metal barrier/fence was sited here, presumably to stop people falling over the edge, good idea but rather impeded our view, still we were pretty central by the half way line, and we had all just necked a rather tasty 11% Belgium beer, so were quite mellow at our later than wished for arrival.

penalty, 2-0.
penalty, 2-0.
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At games end 'The Buffalos' had their first win in the league since Oct apparently, and frankly they made hard work of it. After a ridiculous penalty award in the 2nd half confirming the points for them, converted by home no 9 Mboyo, that even had the home fans laughing like hyenas in ridicule at the ref who awarded it for what seemed a harmless shoulder charge. Anyway at 2-0, there was little apparent chance of Beerschot coming back into it although a late goal gave them a a hint of it, but they did not really bring much further pressure to bear (beer?) on the Gent backline.

Before that they’d gone one up in the first half by the same centre forward Ilombe Mboyo, who slotted home from just inside the area. A tidy finish from a player who'd struggled to take the chances that came his way. Stand out players for Gent being 7, Christian Bruls, and 11, on loan from West Brom, Jordan Ramacle who showed some nifty turns of pace and skill down the left-wing.

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Gent, or Ghent if you prefer is rich in historic buildings dotted along it's pretty waterfront, as the canal wends its way through the heart of the city, with a population of close to 250K it's one of the larger cities in Belgium. Historically wealthy from the wool industry, these days much of it's money-making is now from tourism, as after Brugge it's probably the prettiest city in the country. It's main football team have in recent years been successful, with lofty positions in the league and appearances in the early stages of the Europa league and even Champions league. This season form has deserted them, and resulted in the removal of manager Trond Sollied, and the appointment in early 2013 of Spaniard Victor Fernandez.

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On a very cold evening, but with a crackling atmosphere throughout, both sets of fans were very vocal, and the six of us here helping me celebrate turning fifty last December had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Get there soon as they are moving to their new 20,000 all seater later this year, the Jules Attenstadion is a great little old ground well worth a visit before it goes.

Beerschot fans
Beerschot fans

The away Beerschot fans who'd sang heartily throughout trying to drown out the Gent drummer, didn't see much in the way of payback from their team, and also had to contend with the Gent fans treating them to songs not heard in England since the 1970s, two three four…… 'We all agree Beerschot fans are w*nkers'! harsh but amusing none the less 🙂

Buffalos celebrate victory with a war dance!
Buffalos celebrate victory with a war dance!

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