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Union Saint-Gilloise miss out on winning Belgian league but still see exceptional season

08:43 07/06/2023

As Antwerp celebrated its win of the Belgian football championship, Brussels' local side Union Saint Gilloise were not without their own reasons to feel proud: the team saw an exceptional season.

Union Saint-Gilloise coach Karel Geraerts nevertheless reacted with disappointment, describing his feelings as “frustration, disbelief and sadness”.

“The players are heavily disappointed,” he added, saying he could not yet confirm whether he would remain the coach.

The final game of the season, against Club Brugge, was a close one. Union were top of the league on points for a large part of the second half, after going 1-0 up in the 46th minute, but ended the match with a 3-1 defeat in injury time.

“We were three minutes away from winning the title... I think that says it all,” one fan told Bruzz.

But other fans were quick to point out that it was an overall successful season for the football club, saying “we must not forget what we’ve accomplished”.

Union administrator André Spreutels agreed: “When you come within two minutes of being champion, that's the first thing you're going to remember, but if you look at the season as a whole, it was an exceptional one, with that European Cup quarter-final and beating some great German and Portuguese teams, and we mustn't forget that.”

Few at Union predicted the team would get as far as they did, Spreutels said.

“If someone had told us we'd still be playing for the title on the last day, we'd have thought that was presumptuous,” said Spreutels.

“But we came within minutes of it. It's very easy to analyse why it happened, it's just a bad moment, it's not a question of tactics, because with two minutes to spare, it would have been good.”

Antwerp’s victory was hard fought, with former Red Devil Toby Alderweireld scoring the final goal in a 2-2 match against Genk.

Photo: John Thys/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons