Another eventful midweek round of games…Apart from Lokeren vs Gent, are almost over as four fixtures were played out in hugely improved conditions in Belgium, where you could actually see the matches unlike Tuesdays action. Twelve goals and 2 red cards spread over four matches on a night where form won out, mostly, and no changes at the top, not for the want of trying.
We’ll kick off though with St Truiden vs KV Mechelen where the home side took the spoils in what could be considered a 30 minute match. All the action neatly packed in half an hour where Igor Vetokele opened the scoring with a wonderful goal. Surrounded by three Mechelen defenders outside the box, he found himself half a yard and struck a fantastic effort which seemed to loop over a despairing Lucas Pirard. The equaliser was originally well worked by Mechelen but finished with a whimper, as a neutral, but not for Nicolas Verdier, which came as a surprise to begin with because Uros Vitas had foolishly got himself two yellow cards in a 5 minute spell, where his match ended on thirteen minutes. And the extra man helped as midfielder Stef Peeters settled the match just before the half hour.
Now from the 30 minute match to the 60 minute match in Westerlo where at one point, it could’ve have been an embarrassing result but ended a lot better from De Kemphanen’s point of view. Only 7 minutes in and my player of the match week came up trumps big time as Youri Tielemans assisted the Pro League’s top scorer Lukasz Teodorczyk tucked home a poor through ball in honesty, or was it bad defending? Anyway, 1-0 Anderlecht. But Westerlo showed spirit and just three minutes later Carlos Strandberg pulled a goal back with the simplest of finishes as a saved effort from Elton Acolatse was spilt directly towards the free striker. Personally I felt Frank Boeckx could do nothing about it but with new signing Ruben Martinez Andrew looking on, I’m sure that didn’t help Boeckx. But if anything, that goal spurred on the boys from Brussels and that man again Tielemans sent in a very good free kick and 5’6 Nicolae Stanciu rose to send the loopiest of headers over a despairing Koen Van Langendonck. The 3rd Anderlecht goal was very well played as the patience of Alexandru Chipciu weighted a fine pass into the path of the overlapping Dendoncker who hit the ball across the goalkeeper to make it 3-1 at the break.
The second half started as well as the first as the skipper, Tielemans, off his fine performance with a powerful strike in at the near post from outside the area, cutting in from the right. On the hour, Silvere Ganvoula M’Boussy made the scoreline look presentable but this seemed to be a one sided affair.
With that result, it was pivotal that Club Brugge defeated Beveren, but it wasn’t as comprehensive as you’d think. Brugge started well and hit the front after 9 minutes where eventual match winner Jose Izquierdo had his shot parried straight to Wesley, who then hit the far post before, finally, Lex Immers passed home into a partially unguarded net. It seemed half time helped Beveren who then equalised early in the second half through Zinho Gano who climbed highest to nod home. It looked like Ludovic Butelle reacted late to the header but nobody in yellow cards as they fought their way back to level terms. But in the end, the quality of Izquierdo showed as he was picked out with a sublime through ball between the lines by Timmy Simons, and Izquierdo did the rest with a rasping drive at a narrow angle at the near post, beating Merveille Goblet.
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Lastly, and leastly, an unenthralling goalless draw at the Daknam Stadion in which Thibault De Smet saw red on the 88th minute. Simply Lokeren 0-0 Gent on a day where Gent signed Yuya Kubo from Young Boys of Switzerland.
To sum up, over the past 2 days, the top 3 got maximum points and the bottom three remain the same with shuffling in between.
Until next time…