Jupiler Pro League Round 29: The pendulum swings back towards Anderlecht, Beerschot in Play-Off 3
Anderlecht 1-0 KV Mechelen
Cercle Brugge 1-3 Mons
Lierse 1-0 Kortrijk
Lokeren 1-1 Charleroi
OH Leuven 0-4 Standard Liège
Racing Genk 3-2 KAA Gent
Waasland-Beveren 3-2 Beerschot
Zulte Waregem 1-2 Club Brugge.
After the dramatic win in Anderlecht and a smash and grab in Charleroi, Zulte Waregem suffered a blow at just the wrong time as Club Brugge won 2-1 in the Regenboogstadion to end the title chasers’ seventeen game unbeaten run. The visitors had the best of a scoreless opening 45 as the home side failed to impose themselves on the game. Three minutes into the second half, Lior Refaelov cut the ball back for Carlos Bacca to become the first man to 20 league goals this season. Franck Berrier struck the bar as Essevee searched for an equaliser but Club remained dangerous. Their second goal came late on and in controversial fashion. Eidur Gudjohnsen was offside as Jesper Jørgensen struck from distance but when Sammy Bossut pushed the shot away, the Icelander finished with his usual
composure and class. Substitute Olafur Skulason bundled home a consolatory strike in stoppage time as not even the presence of Bossut in the penalty box could inspire an equaliser. In a dull game in Brussels, Anderlecht ensured they moved six points clear of their rivals with a 1-0 victory over KV Mechelen. Ronald Vargas and Tom De Sutter combined for the latter to head home the winner in a game more likely to be remembered for the return of Matias Suarez, who impressed after coming off the bench.
At the other end of the table, Beerschot were hoping to benefit from a generous looking fixture list on paper to save their skins and they travelled to Waasland-Beveren needing to win. Jacky Mathijssen handed goalkeeper Stefan Deloose a first league start in almost three years. It was his opposite number Colin Coosemans who was picking the ball out of the net after three minutes when Benito Raman scored his third goal since joining on loan from Gent. W-B won a very soft penalty three minutes later, which Deloose managed to stop but Barak Badash atoned for his miss by heading home the rebound. Jordan Remacle put the home side ahead after his free kick was allowed to bounce inside the box and into the net, leaving Deloose with no chance. Remacle combined with fellow loanee from Gent Stijn De Smet to kill Beerschot off after a superb counter. Hernan Losada pulled a goal back after Coosemans dropped Giel Deferm’s cross but De Ratten were to be condemned to Play-Off 3. That’s because Lierse also won – 1-0 against Kortrijk, who failed to score for the ninth away game in a row. Ahmed Abou Moslem swung the free kick in for a pleasantly surprised Rachid Bourabia to head past a stranded Darren Keet.
Standard Liège made it clear they meant business at Den Dreef when OH Leuven fell behind after thirteen seconds. Yoni Buyens won the ball and played in Imoh Ezekiel, who shot low past Logan Bailly to mark his return from a knee injury. Ezekiel’s strike partner Michy Batshuayi doubled the lead with a classy first-time finish from Frédéric Bulot’s low cross. Standard skipper Jelle van Damme was sent off on the stroke of half time for a late challenge on the tricky Thomas Azevedo. Les Rouches saw OHL off before moving away. Laurent Ciman surprised not just Bailly when he scored his first goal of the season with a free kick that moved considerably in the air. Substitute Kensuke Nagai troubled OHL with his pace and he set up Bulot who headed home a fourth.
Fellow Europe chasers Racing Genk came out on top in an entertaining five goal clash with KAA Gent. David Hubert, against his parent club, failed to deal with Thomas Buffel punishing the still sleepy visiting defence with his fifth of the campaign. Zambian striker Rodgers Kola has not been as wonderful a signing as his name might suggest but he capitalised on some good fortune [Koulibaly’s attempted clearance struck Tshimanga] to notch his first league goal in Belgium and equalise. The normally outstanding Koulibaly was suddenly a lot more fallible than usual and when he missed van der Bruggen’s through ball, Ilombé Mboyo kept his cool to slide the ball beyond Köteles just after the break. Bennard Kumordzi, who came off the bench to replace Khaleem Hyland, headed home from a corner for his first league goal in Belgium and this time Genk had levelled things up. Mario Been’s men took the three points with a Julien Gorius special on 78 minutes, evoking memories of his best days at Mechelen.
Mons handed Cercle Brugge a 21st defeat of the season to put themselves in pole position to finish as the best of the rest below PO1. Gregory Mertens inadvertently diverted a Mustapha Jarju cross beyond Coppens to open the scoring. Jarju got on the scoresheet himself before he set up Aloys Nong for a smashing third. The giant Joaquin Boghossian’s header came too late for Groen-Zwart. Lokeren drew a fifth successive game, earning a point against Charleroi only thanks to a late Koen Persoons equaliser ; the experienced midfielder celebrating his new contract in style. Les Zèbres had led thanks to a brilliant finish from David Pollet, who found the top corner from a difficult angle as the Franco-Belgian continued his fine form since joining from Lens.
All constructive comments are welcome as long as they’re in English, French or Dutch but I might stretch to German!