Jupiler Pro League Round 28: Lierse win vital relegation scrap, Standard and Genk disappoint
KAA Gent 2-0 Cercle Brugge
Beerschot 1-3 Lierse
KV Mechelen 1-2 OH Leuven
Kortrijk 0-1 Mons
Waasland-Beveren 0-0 Lokeren
Charleroi P-P Zulte Waregem
Club Brugge 2-2 Anderlecht
Standard Liège 0-0 Racing Genk
Beerschot and Lierse had the most to play for this weekend as they took each other on in the knowledge that the winner would go a long way to guaranteeing Pro League football next season. De Ratten have had problems at both ends -they don’t score enough and goalkeeper Stijn Stijnen has been a liability with his tendency to rush aimlessly out of his goal and pick up yellow and red cards. However, his deputy Koen Van Langendonck had a nightmare on Saturday. Arjan Swinkels headed Lierse ahead when the Beerschot goalie came and failed to collect Ofori’s cross. Lierse doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Aboumosalam’s free-kick from the right went over everyone and into the net.
Benito Raman gave the home side some hope with fifteen minutes left as he scored his second header in as many weeks. It was a false dawn, however, as Lierse restored their two goal lead with the most bizarre of goals. The hapless Van Langendonck spilled Daylon Claasen’s shot into the path of Bourabia, who got to the rebound first before stumbling over the keeper, falling on the ball and eventually putting it over the line. Thomas Wils was sent off late on but Lierse held on for a vital win, though they have a slightly tougher run-in than Beerschot.
Elsewhere on Saturday, KAA Gent put another nail in Cercle Brugge‘s coffin. De Buffalo’s dominated from the off and never looked like losing. Cercle goalkeeper Jo Coppens had a shocker with the high ball proving a real weakness. Soumahoro opened the scoring from Mboyo’s low cross before Gent’s leading scorer made sure of the win late on with an emphatic finish.
The Waasland derby between Waasland-Beveren and Lokeren was a real disappointment as Saturday night’s TV game. Walter started for Lokeren and his moments but for me they need to get Hamdi Harbaoui in the box more. A 0-0 draw was befitting a dull spectacle but it ensured W-B stayed up in their first ever season in the top flight.
KV Mechelen had been a side in form in recent weeks and they looked set for another win when Seth De Witte found the net from 20 yards with a fine strike past an angry Logan Bailly. OH Leuven had other ideas however and mounted a comeback after the break as KVM faded. Utility man Koen Weuts equalised with a magnificent free-kick beyond Pacovski before Chuka won it ten minutes from time with a sweetly struck low volley.
KV Kortrijk fell to a second consecutive defeat, which typifies why they have fallen short of a top six spot – they may be tight at the back but they don’t create and thus score enough. Shlomi Arbitman has been given a new lease of life since joining Mons on loan from KAA Gent and he netted the winner just after the break. The Israeli shrugged off Baptiste Martin before firing high past Darren Keet on his left foot. Ex-Birmingham City man Brice Ntambwe was sent off but Scifo’s men went back to Hainut with all three points.
Charleroi‘s home clash with Zulte Waregem was called off after the away side had already made the trip and were having a pre-match meal. The pitch was deemed to be unplayable following recent snow but Essevee’s CEO felt the decision makes a laughing stock of Belgium abroad. The postponement means Zulte Waregem duo Mbaye Leye and Junior Malanda are suspended for the midweek game in hand with Anderlecht.
Super Sunday brought us a very exciting game between Club Brugge and Anderlecht, which you can read all about here. Standard Liège and Racing Genk then played out a 0-0 draw, which did little to alter the landscape of the chasing pack. Rednic opted for numbers in midfield in the absence of Vainqueur and Ezekiel while Genk were missing De Ceulaer and Vossen, which was reflected during the course of the game. Reza should have started for Standard and they did improve once he came on but fellow striker George Tucudean is not making as positive an impression. After just twelve minutes on as a substitute, he was sent off for a rash challenge on Kalidou Koulibaly. It is worth noting that in the absence of Jeroen Simaeys, Kara was outstanding for Genk in central defence and he looks to be a fine signing.