Jupiler Pro League Week 1: Anderlecht survive Mouscron scare

Standard Liège 3-0 Charleroi

Waasland-Beveren 0-2 Club Brugge
Cercle Brugge 0-0 KAA Gent
Lierse 2-0 KV Kortrijk
Westerlo 1-0 Lokeren

KV Mechelen 3-1 Racing Genk
Anderlecht 3-1 Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz
Zulte Waregem 2-0 KV Kortrijk

Standard 3-0 Charleroi

Despite claiming his side were not ready for the new season Guy Luzon’s Standard Liège had no trouble seeing off rivals Charleroi in the Walloon derby. Including only one of the teams new signings in the starting eleven, defender Jorge Teixeira, the makeshift Standard side were always comfortable.

Geoffrey Mujangi Bia’s two early goals from close range gave Standard the breathing room and inexperienced midfield duo François Marquet and Tortol Lumanza-Lembi were never overran. Mehdi Carcela added the third goal just before the hour mark with a free kick that bounced past Parfait Mandanda in the Charleroi goal. Jelle Van Damme could have made it four with his 67mph/108kmh shot rattling the post before Charleroi’s brightest attacking outlet Dieumerci Ngondala forced a great save from Kawashima minutes later.

In all it was a stroll in the park for Standard, whose first league test will likely be Gent on 10 August. Charleroi play newly promoted Westerlo next.

Waasland-Beveren 0-2 Club Brugge

Michel Preud’homme’s men eventually came out as winners in Beveren after the hosts just about edged a very dull 45 minutes. Aboubakar Oumarou and new signing Ibou found plenty of joy running at the Club Brugge defence, exposing the sluggishness of Thomas Meunier and Bjorn Mechele in particular.

Despite their control of possession, Waasland-Beveren rarely created chances and failed to test Mat Ryan between the sticks. Club Brugge struggled to make an impression especially in midfield, with their own creativity non-existence. A stern talking-to at half-time, plus the introduction of Victor Vazquez proved the ideal tonic and Blauw-Zwart quickly took the lead.

Ronny van Geneugden will have plenty of work to do on the training ground from set-pieces – first Nicolas Castillo was unmarked from a ball being returned into the box from a corner, before Oscar Duarte ran in from deep to turn in a great Lior Refaelov cross. Waasland-Beveren’s grasp on the game fizzled out while Club grew in confidence, as did young forward Nikola Storm, though he lacked the cutting edge in his first proper outing. Club found it tough going but will be happy to see three points on the board after Day 1.

Cercle Brugge 0-0 Gent

There was much optimism as Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s new era got underway as he named a team with no less than six players who had played for his former side Kortrijk. De Buffalo’s produced an underwhelming performance punctuated by nerves and a lack of cohesion between the midfield and attack as they became ever more desperate as the game went on. Cercle had the better chances, most of which fell to debutant Bacelic-Grgic who spurned two gilt-edged opportunities. Groen-Zwart showed more resilience than last term while it’s clear Vanhaezebrouck’s work is just beginning.

Westerlo 1-0 Lokeren

There was plenty of controversy as newly-promoted Westerlo pulled off the first surprise result of the season with an opening weekend win over PO1 candidates Lokeren. After a bright start, the hosts took the lead. Evander Sno got the better of Denis Odoi before squaring the ball for Maxine Annys, who powered it home. If Peter Maes wasn’t happy at what he perceived to be a foul on Sno, it was Westerlo who were aggrieved when the referee changed his mind having initially awarded a penalty following a  foul from Alexander Scholz. Substitute Eugene Ansah looked to have come up with an equaliser but his strike was dubiously ruled out as the assistant deemed the cross to have gone out of play. Nevertheless, Westerlo were good value for their three points.

Lierse 2-0 KV Oostende

Eyebrows were raised at Lierse’s status as firm favourites with the bookies but they dispatched De Kustboys with two first-half strikes from new centre-forward Alhassane Keita. The former Metz player was in a clinical mood on his debut ; his first came from Traoré’s cross as he lashed the ball past Ovono while the second was a calm finish as KVO were opened up down their right. If he keeps this form up, then former Everton striker Apostolos Vellios, who was an injury time sub, will have his work cut out this season. Fernando Canesin hit the bar for the visitors but even the one goal ultimately eluded them.

KV Mechelen 3-1 Racing Genk

The home side bounced back from Khaleem Hyland’s opening goal to record an impressive 3-1 win. From then on, it was one-way traffic with the debutant Sofiane Hanni finding the gaps in the visitors’ defence with ease. Young winger Glenn Claes’ bright play set the unmarked French-Algerian up for the equaliser and the momentum continued to be with Malinwa. New striker Jason Adesanya completed the comeback after the post and then new Genk goalkeeper Marco Bizot had kept the hosts at bay before Hanni returned the compliment to Claes for a third. A bad day for Emilio Ferrera got worse when Hyland was sent off after a second yellow. It was an impressive display from KVM who should be aiming to finish in the top half but Genk, for whom captain Jelle Vossen was not even in the squad, have work to do.

Anderlecht 3-1 Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz

The champions were given a big fright against one of the two promoted sides this season, but a late rally proved enough to gain the victory. Rachid Chibab’s side began their campaign in the top-flight timidly, barely stringing two passes together in the opening 20 or so minutes and Paarswit duly opened the scoring through Frank Acheampong.

Despite being unable to deal with Dennis Praet, the visitors grew with confidence as the half continued, though Anderlecht hadn’t really made it out of second gear. The second half however saw a rejuvenated attack for Mouscron, providing an unlikely equaliser on 63 minutes – Anice Badri finished adroitly after being played through just as brilliantly. The shock was on the cards.

However, RMP were dealt a harsh lesson in how to take your chances. Abdoulay Diaby failed to finish off a counter attack having rounded the keeper and naturally Anderlecht proceeded to score a minute later. Mitrovic, who wasn’t at his sharpest, headed in from a Youri Tielemans’ delivery before the substitute Matias Suarez secured the win, finished a well-worked move. So, a win for the champions yet it could have been very different against more ruthless opponents.

Zulte Waregem 2-0 KV Kortrijk

Fresh from their midweek win in Poland, the home side took the bragging rights in the derby of south-west Flanders. It was a scoreless opening 45 after Glynor Plet registered his candidacy for the miss of the season while Stijn De Smet also missed a good opportunity. Essevee then stuck twice in quick succession after the break. Idrissa Sylla continued his good form from the end of last season with a low shot beyond Keet and then a superb flying header. Kortrijk tried to come back into the game as you’d expect against their rivals but they lacked the requisite quality. It was a tough first assignment for new KVK boss Yves Vanderhaeghe who’ll have to pick his team up for next week. Meanwhile Francky Dury must prepare his squad for another Europa League tie.

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