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  • EXCLUSIVE by Alessandro Schiavone

This former Fulham star can't stop winning medals as he's made it two in 30 months since leaving the Cottage

By Alessandro Schiavone at Jan Breydel Stadion in Bruges

Club Bruges 0-0 Cercle Bruges

A goalless draw at home to city rivals Cercle proved just enough for Denis Odoi's Club Bruges side to claw the title back from Royal Antwerp.

The eyes of an entire country turned to the Jan Breydel Stadion in Bruges on Sunday. And the hosts had to dig deep to win a 19th league title, a fourth in their last five seasons which epitomizes the stranglehold they have on Belgian football.

In the end they topped the standings by finishing one point clear of Union Saint-Gilloise despite ending the regular season 19 POINTS behind them.

A draw was enough to see Bruges over the line. Yet any potential defeat and elation would have turned to deflation with the south Brussels club or Anderlecht potentially cashing in.

And Bruges had to do so without Brentford-bound Brazilian striker Igor Thiago who had already played his last game for the club a fortnight ago in the 2-2 stalemate against the runners-up.

In the grand scheme of things, former Cottager Odoi certainly made a sizeable contribution in Bruges' fortunes as he got his hands on a second league title in two-and-a-half seasons in northwest Belgium.

Vivacious, assured and fighting for every ball Odoi, now 35, showed once again why he can still be trusted upon next season. Be it as a right back like yesterday or defensive midfielder. Be it in the Pro League or in the Champions League. The man who left Fulham after one promotion and two relegations in January 2022 still has plenty to offer.

And against the city neighbours, he made his spacial presence felt with a brilliant sense of anticipation. And he also rescued his side at the end of the first half when he impressively covered a lot of ground to head the ball away from Felipe Da Silva who found himself in a promising position to head home.

When it comes to terrestrial matters, he didn't put a foot wrong either as he intercepted a large number of balls thanks to his reading of the game and the kind of tenacity Fulham supporters used to love about him.

Fearing the worst if they opened up, Bruges were happy to see out the draw but it could all have gone horribly wrong.

After a lengthy monitor check the referee decided that Lopes Da Silva was in an offside in the build-up to Cercle's goal.

It would have been the goal to spike Club Bruges's guns. But despite the regularity of domestic silverware, in the end both the fans and Odoi had plenty of reasons to celebrate. Because no one saw this league title coming less than two months ago.

And there are no two ways about the fact that leaving Fulham has handsomely paid off for the 2018 playoff semi-final hero with his medal collection growing by the season at Belgium's equivalent of Manchester City.

Asked by Capital Football whether he would get 'smashed' tonight Odoi joked that he doesn't drink alcohol.


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