The title of this post is irrelevant really when I think about it, but anyway,the past 30 match weeks have angled towards the next phase. Some clubs have managed to squeak into different places than they thought and some (1) have missed out completely.
Starting with who has missed out, Mouscron were bottom at the start of the day, knowing that basically a miracle would be needed to save them from the drop. Their opponents, Kortrijk, had literally nothing to play for which was an advantage for Mouscron. The other team concerned were Westerlo, who threw away their chance of survival last weekend and had to better or equal Mouscron to guarantee their passage to PlayOff 2.
The problem for Westerlo is that they were hosting a Genk side still on a huge high after dismantling Gent in the Europa League Thursday night, and that confidence oozed out of them taking a 2-0 lead through in form man Mbwana Samatta and a player who’s had a tough season personally in Thomas Buffel. The thing is, this means nothing so far unless Mouscron grab a win away, and 7 minutes after Genk’s second goal, the bottom side nicked a goal through Trezeguet. A huge goal finally lifting Mouscron off the bottom for the first time in months.
The second half couldn’t be tenser probably anywhere in Europe at both stadiums, but the nerves went slightly better in Kortrijk, as an own goal by….Vladimir Kovacevic made it 2-0! With an uphill battle at Het Kuipje, the fact they needed the Barcelona of all comebacks never looked on the cards. Colley soon made it 3-0 before Khaleem Hyland‘s season ended even earlier. A goal at Kortrijk may have put the cat amongst the pigeons, but never came and Malinovskiy really tucked Westerlo in. Mouscron somehow escaped relegation and commiserations to Westerlo as they’ll be in a division lower next season.
The 4 teams above the bottom 2, granted, had tough fixtures but they treated their matches as a bonus match. Beveren were simply taken apart by Anderlecht at the Constant Vanden Stock. Goals from Bruno, Teodorczyk and Mbodji in the first half saw off the team from East Flanders. With this result, Anderlecht went top due to Club Brugge’s inadequacy to beat a poor St Truiden. The away team took the lead as De Petter made it 0-1 at half time. A quick fire double from Vanaken and Claudemir before the hour completed the turnaround until Pieter Gerkins spoiled the party.
Lokeren frankly played out a drab 0-0 at home against Charleroi at the Daknam seeing the visitors safely in Play Off 1. The last team making up the bottom 6 was Eupen who took the lead at home against Zulte Waregem with a Luis Garcia spot kick just after the hour. But then the Beker van Belgie finalists turned on the style. An Mbaye Leye brace turned the game on its head until Robert Mühren rounded off the win. Siebe Blondelle saw red before Eupen took the lead, but overall, this momentum could help Zulte going into next week.
Other Croky Cup finalists Oostende travelled to Liege to face Standard. Bossaerts and Akpala made it 0-2 to De Kustboys before Belfodil turned on the style himself, making himself the second player to be 1 goal short of a hat trick, netting twice to make it 2-2. Finally the game of the day in terms of competitiveness was contested between Gent, who were looking to respond after Thursday, and Mechelen who have performed well this far this season. Going by the result, it looked pretty one sided, but Mechelen fought hard but to no avail. Gent jumped up to 4th, knocking Mechelen into Play Off 2 with goals from Simon, Kubo and Kalu to sort of make up for Thursday.
Another glut of goals on a day of ups and downs. Once again, commiserations to Westerlo who’ll be fighting it out for promotion next season. Also, congratulations to Westerlo’s replacements Antwerp who were promoted Saturday night.
I’ll be focussing on the Cup, Back in Time and Europa League this week!