Belgium football has come back with a bang, and not just because of the results. Actually, that’s exactly why there’s a bang! It’s Saturday night and five matches have come and gone so far this season, with four of last season’s top six kicking us off. And I’ll get back to the curtain raiser at the end.
But we’ll kick off with quite a magnificent display of attacking play, clinical play and bounce back ability. Club Brugge travelled to the Daknamstadion where I thought this could be a banana skin for the Blauw-Zwart. But Ivan Leko gets paid to do and know more than me. Resting some key players, Dennis Bonaventure was outstanding on his Pro League debut for Club Brugge. Brandon Mechele opened the scoring though before a brace by the young Nigerian. Twenty four minutes played and 3-0. Could anything go wrong?
Well yes. Helibelton Palacios saw a straight red just after the half hour, possibly making a game of it in the second half. But unfortunately…that didn’t happen. An own goal by Marko Miric five minutes before the hour sealed a comfortable win and proving me wrong in a couple of ways. Yes, it is only Lokeren, but these are the matches Brugge drew or lost last season and Leko has, so far, irradiated that. Also, I felt Rùnar Kristinsson would have Lokeren firing rather than stalling, but it is only the first game.
And Eupen will be saying the same. Essevee arrived at the Kehrweg Stadion and were more impressive than Brugge. A 5-0 scoreline, it goes to show that Eupen may be toothless up front this season and still haven’t dealt with how poor they can be defensively. A 5-0 defeat should be unacceptable in every way, especially at home. But a 1-0 half time lead courtesy of Davy de Fauw maybe wasn’t what you’d expect when you see the final score.
After that, the Pandas capitulated. A Ivan Saponjic double, with a Nill De Pauw goal in between (his first competitive goal for the club) settled with a cherry on the icing of the cake by Sander Coopman settled the affair late on. Jordi Condom has a lot of work to do to Inspire rather than Aspire another Pro League bounce back from this major disappointment. Whereas Zulte Waregem need to continue this fine progress.
Then we head to the Luminus Arena, where Genk just couldn’t seem to get into gear, and Beveren struck at vital times! Olivier Myny netting just before the break, and Brazilian Zinho Gano scoring just after the break basic ruined Albert Stuivenberg’s team talk…and maybe mind?
But a fine 12 minute turnaround showed why Genk are real quality going forward. Firstly Jose Naranjo scored with 20 minutes to go! Then, the reliable Mbwana Samatta equalised ten minutes later to setup a grandstand finish! But just 2 minutes later, Siebe Scrijvers completed the turnaround superbly and set another title contender on their way! But maybe Phillipe Clement has instilled resilience into this side, and that reliable Brazilian Zinho Gano popped up in stoppage time to save a point! Another amazing game full of goals in Belgium.
Lastly on Saturday, Charleroi welcomed Kortrijk to the Stade du Pays De Charleroi. Kortrijk were very Jekyll and Hyde last term and would love some consistency this season. Although the loss of Idriss Saadi is a huge blow to De Kerels. Unlike the other matches played on Saturday night, this fixture bucked the trend as David Pollet dispatched an eleventh minute penalty to wrap up a win. End of the day it is three points, regardless of how emphatic they are gained!
On Friday night we saw the return of Antwerp to the top flight, against Champions Anderlecht! I singled out Sinan Bolat as my Player Profile, and putting in a man of the match performance, not only am I pleased with myself, I’m pleased for him, Antwerp and the league. Why the league? Because it can still have that unpredictable nature about it. A 0-0 where Les Mauves maybe should’ve taken more than a point, is what was taken from the night.
So with 16 goals in 5 matches, the football is back and raring to go. Onto Sunday!