Five matches played so far back in the JPL and with the main talking leading up to this round surrounded Anderlecht and Gent. Two new managers in the hot seat, both Hein Vanhaezebrouck and Yves Vanderhaeghe both have fire they have to put out and restore confidence, and hopefully flair, back into 2 quality teams.
And out of the two managers I’m going to start with Vanderhaeghe, mainly because in my opinion, one of the major factors of being successful and, well, very good is confidence. The former Oostende manager hasn’t won a single league match at all this season and for all we know, privately, he may have been doubting himself professionally.
Going into tonight, Gent had possibly a tougher task than we all thought. Beveren can be a dangerous outfit and are tough to beat. That proved to be the case as it was goalless going into half time. But, going into the last quarter of the match, the new boss decided to bring on Samuel Kalu. A stroke of genius. Not only did he make an instant impact to make it 1-0 seconds after coming on, he sealed the win in the dying embers to rack up 3 points. Rudy Camacho saw red for the visitors to cap off Beveren’s night.
But kicking the night off, Charleroi were hoping to basically revitalize their form. After an unbelievable start they’ve slowed down recently and even the international break didn’t help. Amara Baby hit a double either side of the break, with an Mbaye Leye penalty squeezed in between. However, with time ticking away, Eric Ocansey hit a late equaliser, with Leye claiming the assist.
Les Zébres have only won once in the last 5 and have thrown away points in the meantime, which I’m sure Mazzu won’t be happy with. Charleroi have gone from dogged battlers, to late bottlers, conceding extremely late against Beveren, Brugge and now Eupen. The Pandas on the other hand may not have won again, but are showing grit and determination by not giving in at a difficult place to go!
Tucked in between were 2 1-1 draws at the Luminus Arena and the Daknamstadion. In the former, Mouscron took the lead through Dorian Rotariu just before half time. But Marcus Ingvartsen again came up with another equaliser. I picked him out in my build up blog because he seems fresh and exciting right now in a Genk side who seem stale. They started off last season in an average manor and they’ve done the same this term.
Mouscron on the other hand may have only drawn, but don’t you think their fans would’ve taken that beforehand? I guess the only negative recently is, much like Charleroi, they’ve dropped points late on now and resilience is key. Without moaning at Charleroi but praising Mouscron, for me, they both have different targets, with one exceeding theirs, and the other probably hitting them to be fair.
The second 1-1 was possibly the least glamorous of the five fixtures played so far. A Jordan Botaka goal just after the break was cancelled out, much like the previous match, in the 81st minute by the Swede Robin Söder. STVV have settled down recently and have slowed down their tremendous early season form. Without being spectacular, they are still claiming points, even though it’s turned into a dripping tap of points rather than the early season gushing through victories after Jonas De Roeck joined.
Lokeren are steadily plodding along. Unable to build off their fantastic away win against Zulte Waregem last time out, they still turned zero points into 1 and never seem to give up right now.
Lastly, we come to the other maiden manager who kicked us off with an absolute belter on Friday night. After Pieter Gerkens hit his first of the season, Onyekuru doubled the lead, only to be immediately pegged back through Rob Schoofs. However,the Nigerian bagged his second almost immediately himself, and then Lukasz Teodorcyzk got himself in on the action. A 4-1 scoreline before half time, Vanhaezebrouck was loving this. The problem was, if the second half was longer than 45 minutes, it may have ended 4-4 instead of 4-3!!! Mechelen showed character whereas Les Mauves may have switched off as it finished 4-3 at the AFAS Stadion.
So from everything looking spectacular in the first 45 minutes, it showed there’s still plenty of work to do at Anderlecht to ensure they can still maybe challenge at the top, rather than scrap for Europa League. Mechelen on the other hand just aren’t doing it. Without being unfair, I thought Yannick Ferrera may have been ousted by now, but maybe that second half performance has saved him for another week, in my opinion.
The problem is that it’s so difficult to see goals so I’m giving my opinion on scoreline and sometimes you can judge a match through time as well as anything else. There is a slowing of form at certain clubs and they’ve all hit a sticky patch (Charleroi, Sint Truiden) but as long as they’re claiming draws instead of defeats, there’s not too much to worry about just yet.