JPL Round 5: Helpless Hilde’s half-time surprise, Suárez takes off.
Kortrijk 1-2 KV Mechelen
Lierse 1-0 Waasland-Beveren
OH Leuven 2-1 Lokeren
Anderlecht 5-2 Charleroi
Club Brugge 1-1 KAA Gent
KV Oostende 1-1 Zulte Waregem
Mons 0-2 Standard Liège
Racing Genk 1-0 Cercle Brugge
The battle of Vlaanderen between Club Brugge and KAA Gent failed to ignite having been cast as Sunday’s showpiece fixture. The home side, whose good start to the campaign has belied the fact many are yet to be convinced, began on the front foot and deservedly took the lead when Tom Høgli, who said afterwards he’s better in real life than on the PlayStation, headed home Maxime Lestienne’s cross. De Buffalo’s equalised somewhat against the run of play and on the stroke of half-time when Nicklas Pedersen reacted quickest to beat Mat Ryan from close range. If the goal had an element of fortune to it, Gent put that to bed with a much more accomplished second-half showing with Pedersen and fellow newcomer Carlos Diogo impressing in particular. Gent were reduced to ten men late on when Leandro Pirez was sent off and the Argentine defender added himself to Belgium’s biggest club: those who are less than impressed with the high-profile referee Jérôme Efong Nzolo.
Sporting Telenet’s reporter Hilde van Malderen also got a lot more than she bargained for when the sprinklers suddenly started spraying water in her direction as she was interviewing Gent assistant Manu Ferrera. Being the professional and good sport she is, she took it in good spirits. As for Club, they have a lot of quality in their ranks but Vadis is spot on when he says that they’ve still yet to truly replace Dirar and Tom De Sutter is very much more in the mould of Björn Vleminckx than Carlos Bacca ; the Sevilla striker’s game was much more suited to playing with “inside forwards” Refaelov and Lestienne.
In some ways it is a surprise that Matias Suárez is still plying his trade at Anderlecht after a move east collapsed several times due to doubts over his physical condition and more specifically, his knee. However, he remains a much loved and important figure for the champions with Mbokani and De Sutter having taken 31 league goals out of the team with their summer departures. The Argentine had only scored one in four league games before yesterday’s 5-2 romp over Charleroi but he made up for that with a hat-trick consisting of a low shot from the edge of the box, a rebound and a glancing header in off the post. “I needed goals to find my best form again. The past few weeks haven’t gone to plan but nevertheless I had the feeling that it was just a matter of time. Once the goals come, my all-round play will improve too,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. Suárez would be well advised to treat his teammate Frank Acheampong to a meal this week after the Ghanaian, who had already excited observers with his performances for the second team last year, set up two goals from the hat-trick and indeed was unfortunate not to score himself after a mazy run down the left, which led to Suárez’s second. Massimo Bruno and Bram Nuytinck’s goals killed off a spirited Charleroi with former Mauve Mohamed Daf and the impressive David Pollet netting for les Zèbres.
Standard Liège may have less season ticket holders than last season but they still have the most in the country and the fans can have few complaints at the moment as they continued their 100% record with a 0-2 away win that piles more pressure on Mons. Guy Luzon rang the changes once again but the consistency of his defence cannot be called into question as they are still yet to concede in the league this season. Michy Batshuayi’s second minute goal could be seen as slow in the light of Ezekiel’s ten-second effort but the u21 international pounced to ensure Joachim Mununga’s backpass proved a fatal error. Kanu added a second having already had one goal disallowed and he killed the hosts off. The only blot on the visitors’ copybook was a late red card for young midfielder Julien De Sart, ambitiously likened to Xabi Alonso not too long ago.
Ex-Standard and Belgium hitman Emile Mpenza is very much at the other end of his career but he could be close to making a comeback in order to boost KV Oostende‘s striking options following the club’s takeover by Marc Coucke. The ambitious new owner wants to make coastal town Oostende more known for its football team than basketball and Franck Berrier, Jordan Lukaku and Fernando Canesin are all in de Kustboys‘ sights. Berrier came on as a sub in Zulte Waregem‘s 1-1 draw against KVO, who battled back from Jens Naessens’ opener to secure their second point of the season through Nyasha Mushekwi, who of course didn’t care one iota that he completely fluffed his shot. Over in Limburg, Mario Been wasn’t entirely happy with his Racing Genk side as they stuttered to a 1-0 win over Cercle Brugge. Benji De Ceulaer’s early goal did though serve to stop the rot after successive defeats to Standard and Lokeren. Been admitted that “Pelé” Mboyo is still adjusting to playing in tandem with Jelle Vossen having led the line on his own at Gent.
Three times all won for the first time on Saturday night. Lokeren could have gone to the top of the table on Saturday night but they squandered the lead handed to them by Hamdi Harbaoui as OH Leuven fought back to claim the three points. Fan favourite Bjorn Ruytinx fittingly scored the winner and he wants to remain in Leuven. OHL have brought in Macedonian striker Jovan Kostovski but could still lose Ibou with Reading interested. KV Mechelen finally got the win they deserved when they emerged triumphant in Kortrijk. Former Beerschot and Ajax youngster Mats Rits’ goal proved crucial as KVM survived Ivan Santini’s fifth of the campaign. Lierse deservedly overcame an uninspired Waasland-Beveren 1-0 thanks to a Hernan Losada penalty.