Wow. Another crazy Europa League evening courtesy of Belgium’s finest. Firstly Anderlecht were in Nicosia to hopefully take a positive result back to Brussels, whilst it was 7th vs 8th in the Pro League, except this time on a European scale.
We’ll start chronologically, with Anderlecht, so far, proving that their draw seemed a bit simpler than the previous round. From one of the coldest countries in Russia and Zenit, to Cyprus and Nicosia, the red hot duo of Romanian pair Nicolae Stanciu and Alexandru Chipciu were the undoing of APOEL just before the half hour with the latter assisting the former.
A much stronger line up compared to the other round, it seems now Anderlecht believe something may happen if they stay focused, and that Sunday is the last regular season fixture of the season, they were not going to take any chances and it paid off!
With that 1-0 win done with, and a vital lead and away goal, a tight affair between Gent and Genk unfolded…RUBBISH!!! To be honest, I felt that Genk wouldn’t have as much of a chance. That sounds naive and not exactly open minded, but it’s true, and not for the first time, how wrong was I?
Ruslan Malinovskiy set the tone, opening the scoring for Genk, only to be pegged back 6 minutes later through Samuel Kalu. Then, and so St Truiden fans, but the similarities between De Limburges Derby and tonight resonated with me with a twelve minute flurry of goals by De Smurfen.
No mercy shown by Omar Colley, Mbwana Samata and Jere Uronen before the half may well have killed the tie. Fantastic play and game plan in the first 45 minutes with clinical finishing. Magnificent.
Khalifa Coulibaly pulled a goal back around the hour where the home fans, with any ounce of belief, could spark a comeback just short of Barcelona’s heroics the last night, and then prayers were answered in the form of a penalty. Surprisingly however, Jeremy Perbet didn‘t show any of his recent form and not only did he not convert. Worse was yet to come.
Approaching the last 20mins, Samata doubled his tally to make it 5-2 to Genk. To add insult to injury, central midfielder Anderson Esiti saw his second yellow 5 minutes before the end to cap off an horrific night for Gent.
Gent 2-5 Genk
Amazing night overall proving that the Pro League is a fantastic product of quality up front and tactical nouse regarding how to set up and win away, even when you think you know each other so well in this case. But if this week has anything to go by, this tie still ain’t over!