On Boxing Day, the Purple & White took on KAA Gent at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium. Hein Vanhaezebrouck carried through two changes to the team that took on Eupen on Friday. Dennis Appiah and Sofiane Hanni were in the starting line-up and replaced Albert Sambi Lokonga and Henry Onyekuru, who sustained a heavy injury against Eupen. After a strong debut, Francis Amuzu started the game again. RSCA was visited by two former players before the match: Bertrand Crasson and Guillaume Gillet kicked off the game. The final match of 2017 ended in a 1-0 victory. It was Sofiane Hanni who scored the only goal in the final fifteen minutes.
In the first minute, the Purple & White took a free kick right outside of the box. Sofiane Hanni’s header, after a free kick by, Adrian Trebel went long. Kalu and Simon tried to threaten for the visitors, but were not able to create any scoring opportunities. Trebel was able to take a swing after five minutes, the shot by the French midfielder hit the wall. In minute 17, the first big opportunity was one for Olivier Deschacht, who took a swing from outside the box. Goalie Kalinic only managed to push away the shot and saw Pieter Gerkens shooting across the goal in the rebound. After thirty minutes, Kalu took a swing from a distance, but the shot went wide and long. On the pitch, there were a lot of disturbances but no scoring opportunities. Right before half-time, Uros Spajic was booked for the fifth time this season, as a result of which the Serbian will be suspended in the first game after the winter break (at KRC Genk). At half-time, the score was still 0-0.
After six minutes in the second half, Amuzu nicely passed Machado, but his cross was stopped by the Gent defence. In minute 57, Sylla turned up in front of Sels alone, but the goalie reacted well and made the save. Somewhat later on, there was another big opportunity on the other side. Gerkens reached Hanni with a long centre from the right wing, but Kalinic saved. In the final fifteen minutes, the captain was able to beat Kalinic. The goalie reacted well on the header by Dendoncker, after a free kick by Trebel, but Sofiane Hanni did not hesitate and put in the 1-0 in the rebound. Substitute Milicevic reacted with a free kick, but his attempt for goal just went wide. Yaremchuk hurried towards the goal after a too short pass back by Kums, but Sels was attentive again. In the final minutes, a volley by Machado went long and wide. In the four minutes of extra time, Kalu was booked for the second time after a foul against Amuzu, as a result of which KAA Gent were reduced to ten players. Tall goalie Kalinic went forward in hopes of taking a point after all, but referee Wim Smet ended the match, so RSCA won the final match of 2017 1-0. On Sunday 21 January, the competition will resume with an away match in KRC Genk, but not before Anderlecht will go to winter practice in the Spanish La Manga.
RSCA: Matz Sels, Dennis Appiah, Uros Spajic, Leander Dendoncker, Olivier Deschacht, Sven Kums, Adrien Trebel, Pieter Gerkens, Francis Amuzu, Sofiane Hanni, Lukasz Teodorczyk.
Goal: 77' Hanni (1-0)