KSC Lokeren OV have won the Belgian Cup for the first time in their history thanks to Hamdi Harbaoui's winning strike in the final against KV Kortrijk.
Lokeren were making their first appearance in the showpiece since finishing runners-up to R. Standard de Liège in 1981 and they played their part in a lively start at the Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels. Nfor Webnje headed just wide for final debutants Kortrijk in the opening minute before Harbaoui had a goal ruled out for offside shortly after.
With 35,000 supporters watching from the stands, Lokeren's chances received a major blow when Benjamin De Ceulaer was sent off for pulling Brecht Capon to the ground after 20 minutes. Kortrijk enjoyed the upper hand after that, but Lokeren proved more dangerous going forward and hit the winner with 13 minutes left when Killian Overmeire headed Djiby Fall's fine through ball to Harbaoui. The Tunisian forward beat goalkeeper Darren Keet to settle the encounter.
"We've proved before that we can play with good organisation despite going a man down," said victorious coach Peter Maes, whose side have booked a spot in the UEFA Europa League play-offs next season. "It was no different today. I think this victory was deserved. We had some difficulties for a short while in the second half, but then I brought on Fall as an extra striker and my feeling that we could win grew."
The coach dedicated the win to the victims of the Belgian coach accident in Switzerland on 13 March, in which 22 schoolchildren, and 28 people overall, lost their lives. "I will celebrate this cup victory in a sober fashion," he said. "I am from Lommel [one of the towns most affected by the tragedy] and have seen a few different scenes in the past week. That's why I'm dedicating this victory to all the families involved."
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