Beerschot and Gent began 2021 with a 1-1 draw. Though the Buffalos took charge of possession, the first opportunities fell to the home side. Holzhauser's 8th-minute penalty was saved by Bolat, but then Beerschot went in front in the 23rd minute through Coulibaly. Gent deservedly equalised just before the break through Kums' decisive spot kick. After half time, the Buffalos were clearly on top in terms of possession and chances, but Vanhamel made some smart stops, and Bukari saw a goal chalked out for offside. So despite Gent pressure the second goal never came, meaning the match ended all square.
Away at KV Kortrijk, Gent went down to 10 men in the first half after Yaremchuk was sent off for a push. Despite this, the Buffalos were the better side before the break and came closest to scoring through Bukari's strike from distance. Early in the second half Selemani put Kortrijk in front, before Makarenko's swirling effort from a rebound struck the bar. A determined Gent side then fought back. Mohammadi hit a great shot but Ilic tipped it onto the bar and Bukari headed the rebound over. Bukari again, Bezus, Kleindienst and Depoitre all had big chances but the Buffalos could simply not find an equaliser, so when the final whistle blew Kortrijk could celebrate a flattering three points.
The first half of the Buffalos' clash at top-of-the-table Club Brugge was a cagey affaire. Yaremchuk had the best chance, but he was denied by Mignolet. Brugge turned up the pressure, but Gent's defence stood firm. Then Yaremchuk went close again when he headed a cross against the bar, before Mohammadi jinked into the box in the 68th minute and found Castro-Montes at the far post, who forced Ricca into scoring an own goal. Brugge pressed for an equaliser, but could not get past Bolat, so the Buffalos held on for their third win on the bounce.
Gent's home tie against Waasland-Beveren produced many chances in an enjoyable first half. First the visitors hit the bar, and then Bukari struck the frame of the goal twice, but Castro-Montes' great strike did go in, giving the Buffalos a deserved lead at half time. Gent, who played full of desire, went further ahead in the 53rd minute through Yaremchuk before Bukari's measured effort from distance in injury time put the icing on the cake.
The Buffalos got off to a disastrous start against R Standard de Liège, when a corner deflected off Ngadeu into his own net with just two minutes gone. Gent gradually got over this early shock, and Fortuna made it 1-1 just before the half-hour mark. In the second half, the Buffalos showed a lot of determination and were deservedly on top. Bodart was on good form and pulled off several good saves, but was finally beaten again in the 85th minute by Yaremchuk's lovely chip. At the final whistle, Gent's relief in picking up the three points was palpable.
Playing away at TSG Hoffenheim, the Buffalos were unlucky to go behind when Owusu headed against Beier and the ball rebounded into the net. Five minutes later, Skov doubled the home side's advantage. Bukari and Kleindienst both had opportunities to pull one back but neither could find the net. Beier scored a beauty early in the second half to make it 3-0, and fifteen minutes later he turned provider for substitute Kramaric to make it four. Gent at least got on the scoresheet through Fortuna's great volley, but it was a disappointing end to their Europa League campaign.
Playing away at KV Oostende, the Buffalos got off to great start and went in front after just five minutes through Bukari. The equaliser came on the hour, when Gueye headed in. Gent went in search of another goal, but Odjidja was denied by Hubert. Soon after, Owusu accidentally handled the ball in his own box. Following a VAR review, referee D'Hondt awarded a penalty, which Sakala duly converted. The Buffalos kept on pushing forward, but to no avail, so it was the home side who came away with all three points.
On matchday 5 of the UEFA Europa League Group stage, the Buffalos went down to a 2-1 home defeat to Czechia's FC Slovan Liberec. Gent began the game well, but it was the visitors who took the lead after half an hour, through Mara. After the break, Yusuf Helal doubled Liberec's lead, before Yaremchuk quickly pulled one back with a perfectly placed shot into the left corner. An equaliser never looked likely, however, meaning Gent remain pointless at the bottom of Group L
The Buffalos began strongly against Zulte Waregem, with Bostyn pulling off two good saves to deny Bukari. Then, in the 27th minute, Govea put the visitors in front with a great free kick, and they doubled their lead just before the break through Chory's header in off the underside of the bar. Gent did their best to get back in the game in the second half, but Zulte Waregem defended stoutly, and with 8 minutes to go Vossen scored a cracking header for the visitors, putting the result beyond all doubt.
Gent failed to take their last chance in Group L of the UEFA Europa League. They fell behind to Crvena zvezdsa (Red Star Belgrade) with just a minute gone, with Petrovic scoring a beauty from distance. The visitors defended resolutely, and Borjan pulled off a great save to deny Bukari. After half-time the Buffalos enjoyed the lion's share of possession and chances, but the game's only other goal came from the visitors: Milunovic netting in the 58th minute. And so Gent's dream of European glory this season is over.
The Buffalos put in a strong performance away at R Charleroi SC. In a first half devoid of chances, the sting came in the tail: Bukari using his pace to put the visitors in the lead in the 45th minute. Both sides' goalkeepers were busier in the second half, but neither Bolat nor Penneteau had to pick the ball out of the net. Gent had to work right up to the final whistle to withstand Charleroi, and so the three points they picked up were richly deserved.
Every day, the Buffalo Talent Center is busy training and guiding the next generation of footballers. The arrival of Hao Wang is a first for us. For the first time in the club's history, a Chinese player joins KAA Gent. Wang arrived in Belgium last season and joined the Buffalo Talent Center where he trains with the U21. He is a 19-year-old versatile midfielder, with a few caps to his name for the Chinese youth teams. He played several times for the U17 and U19. After playing football in China from an early age, Wang arrived in Europe at the age of 15 as part of a school exchange programme in France. He soon joined the U17 of Vannes Olympique Club and distinguished himself at a tournament in Qatar in 2017. He continued his evolution and was welcomed by Olympique Lyonnais in 2019 for a training period of several months at the U19 before joining KAA Gent in early 2020. Determined to make progress, he facilitated his adaptation and progress thanks to his command of French and English. Hao Wang about his period at KAA Gent: "I'm doing well, and I'm very happy, I get on well with everyone here. The training sessions with my teammates help me to make progress every day. Although Covid-19 prevented us from finishing last season, I have been training hard with the team since June to make the best out of this season". We wish Hao the best of luck with the U21!
After an evenly balanced first half it looked as if the two sides would go into the dressing room all square, but Murillo's 44th minute strike gave Anderlecht a flattering lead. With few chances in the second half, it seemed like the visitors were heading for three points, especially after they avoided conceding a penalty when Yaremchuk was unfairly adjudged to have dived. However, justice was done in the 89th minute, when Yaremchuk nodded in Mohammadi's cross. The Buffalos then almost stole a win when Van Crombrugge fumbled a free kick, but he was just able to prevent the ball crossing the line.
On Matchday 3 of the UEFA Europa League group stage, the Buffalos went behind after just 12 minutes to a great strike from Kanga, before equalising shortly after the half-hour mark through a deflected effort from Odjidja. Gent pressed in the second half, but fell behind once more when Katai's free kick went in off the post. Though the visitors created enough chances to draw level, their finishing let them down. So Crvena zvezdsa (Red Star) held on, and the Buffalos were left rueing their failure to get anything from the game.
Away at Waasland-Beveren, a rejigged Gent side took the match firmly in their grasp. After the opening goal from Dorsch, Yaremchuk stole the show with a flawless hat trick within barely 15 minutes, meaning the home side were already resigned to defeat before half time. In the second half, Gent took their foot off the gas, but aside from a consolation goal from Sinani, Waasland-Beveren posed no danger and the result was never in doubt.