KV Kortrijk did themself a big favour in the battle against league leaders KRC Genk. In the first league match of their new manager Bernd Storck, Kortrijk’s third manager of the season, de Kerels beat Genk with 1-0 at home. The hosts lined up in sort of an unsymmetric 3-5-2, where their left wingback Bruno was almost playing as a left winger. Both teams had a bunch of chances and it was a small miracle the score was still 0-0 in the 80th minute. In the 83rd minute though it was the Uruguayan striker Avenatti, who converted Mbayo’s cross and put Kortrijk in the lead and gave Genk their second loss of the season.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Algerian
- Age: 22
- Date of birth: 24/06/2000
- Current club: KV Kortrijk
- Career: Paradou AC, KV Kortrijk
- Position: Attacking Midfield
- Secondary position: Centre Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
I covered Abdelkahar Kadri at the end of last January against Club Brugge. The Algerian played an impressive match but had some bad luck after that. In pre-season the 22-year-old got a knee injury and was out for over five months. Kadri played some friendly matches in the winter and an hour in a cup match last week but this was his first start in a league match since last season. On paper, he started as a right central midfielder in Kortrijk’s 3-5-2, with Faiz Selemani to his left and Stjepan Loncar a bit more defensive, but Kadri was found everywhere on the pitch. Standing at 1.78m he may not have the most impressive physical presence on the midfield but don’t underestimate him. Kadri puts a lot of intensity in his duels and he almost won every 50/50 duel he had against Genk. In shoulder-to-shoulder duels, he might struggle a bit more however, he is smart enough to stay out of those. With his great agility and pace on the first meters, he is able to catch defenders off guard, which drew him a couple of fouls against Genk.
Kadri should be lacking some match fitness, as he just played a couple of games since returning from his injury, but I didn’t see any signs of that being the case. As I said the midfielder was everywhere on the pitch, also doing a lot of defensive work. He was very sharp in attacking transitions but a bit slow at times in the defensive ones. However, it could just be the case that he has that freedom. Defensively Kadri did very well in his duels, but struggled a little more with his positioning. Especially when an opponent would look for a short combination and then move forward, Kadri spotted the run too late which could create a dangerous situation.
Last time I already praised his technical abilities and against KRC Genk he didn’t show me anything to think differently about him. Kadri is a great dribbler and very comfortable in tight spaces. He likes to receive the ball between the lines and is a very composed creator in the final third. On a couple of occasions, the Algerian midfielder did really well by delaying his pass for a couple of touches to draw out the defender towards him, giving his teammate more space. Last time out I criticized him for being a bit sloppy at the end and I didn’t really see any of that inconsistency today. He lost one or two balls on his own half, but those situations were just quite unlucky.
Rating – A2
The next half of the season is very important for Kadri. If he can help Kortrijk stay in the league or just put up some decent numbers he is ready for a step up next season for sure.
- Nationality: Chilean
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 08/08/2002
- Current club: KV Kortrijk
- Career: RSC Anderlecht (Y), KV Kortrijk
- Position: Right Back
- Secondary position: Left Back
- Preferred foot: Right
Nayel Mehssatou started in his first league match for KV Kortrijk since September. The Chilean international born in Bruxelles is normally a right back but started as the left centre back in Kortrijk’s 3-5-2. However, he was more a left-back as the left wingback Massimo Bruno played more as a left winger. Throughout the match, it became clear that Mehssatou’s main role was to stop Genk’s right winger Paintsil and looking at the scoreline I must say that he succeeded.
The 20-year-old didn’t really have a chance against the powerhouse that is Joseph Paintsil physically. The Chilean stands at 1.72m with a pretty average build and simply didn’t have the strength to shove Paintsil off the ball. As Genk played quite patiently and not too direct there weren’t really any moments where Mehssatou’s pace was really tested. In the few moments where he really had to sprint though, he seemed to be decent on the first meters. Mehssatou didn’t do too well in his defensive duels having a hard time with his tackles. However, he mainly did well to force Paintsil to play a simple pass back. When the Ghanaian winger received the pass Mehssatou would just be right behind him, not giving him any space. A few times Mehssatou committed a bit too much to one side, which Paintsil of course used but the 20-year-old would always get help from one of his teammates.
On the ball, Mehssatou played it quite safe against Genk, not stepping out of the defensive line for example. He looked quite composed though, not making any big mistakes under pressure and just playing it long if he didn’t see any other option. His passing looked very solid as he played a couple of pin-point long passes with his right foot and also showed that he was a very good left foot as well.
Rating – B2
Mehssatou did what he had to do, but didn’t really show me a lot more than that. Of course, the youngster played a completely different position than usual, so I’m curious to see him play as a right back when he gets the chance.