Nicholson scores first goal of new year
Despite national striker Shamar Nicholson scoring his first goal of the new year, his Belgian club missed an opportunity to close the gap on the top two teams in the division as they were defeated 3-2 by KV Oostende in their Jupiler league fixture on Saturday at Albertpark.
Oostende needed only five minutes to take the lead when full back Fashion Sakala got on the end of a deep cross to tap home past Charleroi goalkeeper Nicholas Penneteau. However, Charleroi got the equaliser in the 27th minute when Ali Gholizadeh's cross found Nicholson, whose header sailed past Guillaume Hubert for his seventh goal of the campaign.
Both sides entered the break tied at 1-1, but Oostende's lead would be restored 13 minutes into the second half. From the corner kick, Jack Hendry's header at the near post sailed over the head of Penneteau and seemingly was cleared by a Charleroi defender, but the referee determined that the ball had crossed the line and gave the goal to the hosts. Four minutes later, Charelori were further behind, thanks to Andrew Hjulsager's deflected effort from outside the penalty area. Gaetan Hedrickx almost cut the deficit in the 66th minute, but his effort hit the post.
Kaveh Rezaei managed to give Charleroi some hope in the 75th minute, but Oostende held firm in the final 15 minutes to preserve the win and sentence Charleroi to back-to-back defeats.
Despite the latest defeat, Nicholson is now one goal away from equalling his previous season's goal total of eight. He currently has scored seven goals and registered four assists in 19 league appearances so far for the club in his sophomore campaign in Belgium. With the loss, Charleroi remain in third place with 33 points, but are nine points behind leaders and defending champions Club Brugge who won on Sunday. Additionally, the race for the championship play-offs has tightened as Charleroi are a point adrift of Leuven and Anderlecht, respectively. The top four teams at the end of the regular season will head to the championship round, where the league winner will be decided.
Charleroi will hope to get back to winning ways when they host 13th place Mechelen on Saturday.