Herakles become latest new club to qualify for EHL from Belgium

Herakles became the latest new club to qualify for the Euro Hockey League as they produced an incredible comeback to beat Racing Club de Bruxelles for the second time this week to reach the Belgian grand final.

The Lier-based club held a 5-3 lead going into the second leg of their semi-final but that advantage was wiped out almost immediately as Aldo Dalla Palma made it 1-0 in the third minute from a Tom Boon pass.

Simon Gougnard then completed an end-to-end move to make it 5-5 on aggregate with Racing enjoying all the momentum.

But Herakles produced something from nothing – continuing their high conversion rate in front of goal – as Alex Leclef grabbed their first opportunity of the match in the 26th minute.

It was the turning point and when the Rats were unable to score from a trio of corners around the 46 minute mark with Amaury Timmermans, the Herakles goalkeeper, showing his worth.

"In the first half, we were under a lot of pressure," said Timmermans afterwards to La Libre. "But we had the chance to score on our first corner. The rest of the game, we had to defend as we have been doing since the beginning of the season! We are the Leicester City of Belgian hockey!"

Indeed, Racing’s corner count went up to nine but they still could not beat Timmermans. On the counter, Cedric Struyf made Herakles’ position even stronger when he netted an equalising goal, making it 2-2 with two minutes to go.

Amaury Keusters then completed the famous win with a third goal into an unguarded net in the final minute for 3-2.

In the final, they will play KHC Dragons who beat the Waterloo Ducks 3-2 in much more straightforward fashion. They had won the first leg 2-0 and they were in a dominant position when they built a 3-0 lead in the second leg.

Alexander Hendrickx’s penalty corner in the 10th minute set them up and running. Henri Raes added the second goal early in the second half before Jeffrey Thys made it 3-0 with eight minutes to go, rendering the Ducks late goals merely academic.
The WatDucks will play Racing Club de Bruxelles for the third and final EHL place from Belgium in a playoff.