On yet another vital weekend as the season draws to an ends and the play offs begin, teams at either end of the table are still jostling for position and everyone is scrapping for points, more than others.
I tend to think to begin with maybe the most exciting or pivotal result of the weekend when I round up Friday/Saturday matches and end on Friday nights result as everyone would know what it was, but as it was a derby I’m starting with the Friday fixture. It was De Limburges Derby between St Truiden and Genk and with the home teams recent form at the Staaien I really thought they would’ve had a chance of taking something from game, but in a 7 minute spell, the game was drastically taken from De Kanaries.
The dismantlement began ten minutes before the break. In a match that was dominated by Genk they took the lead through playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo. Before the home side could catch their breathe it was 2-0 as Mbwana Samata nodded home ahead of his marking, stooping to reach the ball from a Pozuelo cross. The game was put to bed on half time by Malinovskiy with a world class finish. Steven Gerrardesque.
With that result, that put Genk above Mechelen and Gent going into Saturday nights matches, meaning a response was needed. We’ll start with Mechelen who travelled to Kortrijk who had 2 potent striker’s on top form leasing into the match, however, not only did Mechelen deal expertly with the pairing, they had a hotshot of their own through the unlikeliest of sources. Uros Vitas became the hero scoring 2 goals on the night in either half.
A quick start was needed and after 7 minutes, that’s what they got as the centre half, who missed the last 2 games through suspension and being dropped, scored to ease the nerves. With Kortrijk losing their heads, there was 6 yellow cards dished out, with 5 going to the home side and two were given to Tomislav Barbaric. That proved to be costly as a minute after the red card, Vitas sealed the win. Before the match, De Kakkers hadn’t beaten Kortrijk in 5 matches, and with Genk’s victory, 3 points were needed and Kortrijk’s mini revival in form came to an abrupt end!
We’ll come back to Gent as we look at the earlier kick off between bottom side Mouscron, who hosted Oostende in a bottom vs top affair, and form looked to count for nothing as January loan signing Deivydas Matulevicius opened the scoring after being assisted by the focus of my Player Profile Simon Diedhiou. With that goal, it gave Mouscron something to hold onto, although it may have come too early as the Belgian Cup finalists pulled level through centre forward Nany Dimata. His 9th goal of a decent league campaign for the young Belgian.
With the game coming to a close, it was looking like a good point for the bottom side until old boy David Rozenhal broke Mouscron hearts with an 89th minute winner which puts Oostende 7 points off top spot before Sunday’s matches! The draw leaves Mircea Rednic’s still cut adrift at the bottom.
With the teams in the top half all winning, Charleroi would’ve liked that trend to continue as they welcomed strugglers Westerlo, and similar to Mouscron they took the lead through last weeks hero Elton Acolatse netting five minutes before half time. Westerlo were looking to build on their late victory last week with this scalp against an impressive Charleroi, who have had a rough patch of fixtures which they overcame very well recently and with better teams, they strike late on and that’s what Charleroi did through Damien Marcq. The midfielder striking from a Clinton Mata assist and giving the home team momentum leading into the last quarter of an hour!
With time ticking away some divine intervention was needed and it was through a Christian… Christian Benavente that is with an 87th minute winner to send the Stade du Pays De Charleroi into raptures and put them on course to progress to the championship play offs. The substitute coming up trumps here.
We’ll end, finally, with Gent hosting hapless Eupen who were in free fall in recent weeks and for me, this was the banker of the weekend. After not winning since the last game of 2016, Eupen’s terrible form didn’t look like changing against a Gent team out to get 3 more points at home after impressive wins in 2017 at the Ghelamco Arena against Charleroi and table topping Club Brugge.
After a match dominated possession wise by the home team, it looked like Eupen frustrated a point out of Gent, but that wasn’t to be…As it got even better with a 96th… Yes…96th minute winner through Henry Onyekuru. The young Nigerian broke free after a pretty poor through ball by Jose Maria Cases wasn’t dealt with at all as Gent goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic embarrassed himself and cost his team a point with an air kick outside his box that was ceased upon by Onyekuru.
I wouldn’t say I’ve been scathing, but I haven’t been kind to KAS Eupen since blogging here, but tonight’s result was gutsy and impressive. Their form has been poor but they have pulled results out of nowhere this season home and away and after being 15th before today, they have now pulled clear from the bottom and this sort of result is the result that can save their season.