Bit of a weird title granted, but the way this group is playing out is a bit fascinating. The group fascinates me because USG are just performing brilliantly whilst everyone, in their own way, is playing catch up. They seem determined not to fail and play without fear, no matter what situation they’re in, or opposition they face.
And on Friday Union Saint Gilloise had to react for the first time within the play offs. They started well like they have done and took a 13 minute lead through Yannick Aguemon. The Frenchman getting on the end of yet ANOTHER assist from the magnificent Nicolas Rajsel. After that, the formidable duo up front for Les Rouches kicked into gear. Firstly, Orlando Sa netted to equalise for Standard, before Ishak Belfodil turned the game on its head just before the half, with an assist from strike partner Sa. The first time USG were behind in the play offs, how would they react? The reacted the only way they seem to, through persistence and determination, wearing Standard Liege down to equalise themselves in the last minute! Aguemon turned provider this time for second half substitute Perdichizzi. Aleksandar Jankovic must be concerned as Liege conceded, again, in the last minute 2 weeks in a row, after turning the game around, again, and they need to see these matches out!
With Liege not performing, Mechelen have predictably become Union Saint Gilloise’s nearest rivals for the Europa League play off, defeating a hapless, yet fighting Beveren. Mechelen took an early lead from the spot through goal machine and centre half Uros Vitas. However, Beveren showed some endeavour and Jens Cools struck back for the host 4 minutes before half time! Waasland Beveren would’ve probably taken this point and stay solid, but that wasn’t to be. Just nine minutes into the second period, Mats Rits found youngster Reda Jaadi, who hasn’t played much this term, but took his chance well, which proved to be the winner. Lack of discipline proved to be a trend for the hosts, with 2 yellows and then a red to go with his first half yellow for Rudy Camacho as Beveren finished with 10 men. Nine goals conceded, no points and bottom after 3 games. I guess any positives for the remainder of the season will have to do as Beveren look towards next season.
Finally, Lierse travelled to Sint Truiden hoping and realistically take something away from the match points wise (not sure if that sentence even made sense?). And 15 minutes in, that looked likely, as Sabir Bougrine assisted Anas Tahini! Sint Truiden showed they were tough last weekend away to Standard and had 75 minutes to prove that again. The symmetry in this match was that the goal mouth action happened in the first and last quarter of an hour, as goalscoring hero, and not for the first time, took centre stage! Pieter Gerkins managed to equalise and then score the winner. The defensive midfielder turned hero as Sint Truiden kept pace with Union whereas Lierse lost ground again unfortunately, yet still showed their worth tonight!
A tight and competitive group with 3 teams vying for top, buts there’s certainly still a long way to go…