Owen Otasowie finally made his competitive debut for Brugge on Sunday evening, starting and playing just short of an hour in the team’s defense as they narrowly won their first trophy of the new season.

The Belgian Super Cup, which pits the Pro League winners against the Belgian Cup winners, was contested on Sunday afternoon in Brugge, and the league champions came out on top over Gent, 1-0, thanks to a solitary strike by Andreas Skov Olsen late in the first half.

Once-capped American international Otasowie started for Club and put in a 59 minute shift as a part of a three-man back line before being subbed off.

This was Otawosie’s debut for the champions; although he signed with them at the beginning of last season, he never stepped onto the field of play for them during a troubled 2021-22 term. He took up the post of left back in a three man defensive line, a defense favored by new head coach Carl Hoefkens. The American got the nod due to Stanley Nsoki’s suspension.

The Blauw-Zwart played like champions, creating a trio of very good chances in the first quarter-hour that unfortunately came to nothing. Gent keeper Davey Roef parried away Ruud Vormer’s shot while Spaniard Ferran Jutgla was more wasteful, missing the target with both of his chances.

Gent could not reply with any threats early on as they were set to defend and looked to play on the break. Nurio Fortuna hit a rocket ten minutes before the intermission but it cleared the crossbar, much to the relief of Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian international keeper was picking the ball out of the back of his net a few minutes later but Tarik Tissoudali’s net bender was cancelled when the linesman’s flag went up for offsides.

It wasn’t until the 38th minute that the deadlock was broken. The Danish international Olsen made his way into the box from the right flank and watched his shot take a slight deflection and sail into the back of the Buffaloes’ net to give Club the lead that turned out to also be the winning goal.

Gent tried to get back into the game and could have tied it up before the intermission, but Mignolet got a hand to Hugo Cuypers header and guided it over his crossbar.

The Belgian Cup winners came out of the locker room on fire, forcing Hoefkens into a pair of changes, with Otasowie and the goal scorer coming off for a more defensive posture. Gent however remained dangerous throughout the half and in the end registered 11 shots to Club’s four, while slightly dominating possession with 53% of the ball.

After the 90 minutes were played, Otasowie picked up his first piece of Belgian silverware, in his first competitive game played for the club

The Pro League will get underway the weekend of July 23rd with a full slate of games. Club will host Mark McKenzie and Genk on Sunday afternoon to open up the 2022-23 Belgian Pro League season.

By Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on Amazon.com, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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