Posted in Manager Profile

Something Stinks

The Pro League so far hasn’t disappointed on its return this season. You have top teams struggling like Oostende, Genk and Gent who are trying to get into the swing of things. Then you have Antwerp doing very well with Standard Liege (which isn’t much of a shock, but they were 9th last season!) So there is a mix of who is doing ok. But wait a second…there’s only been two matches. Some teams sometimes don’t even look at the league table until the 10th match at most.

But as managers and players have their own ideas on how to deal with performances, chairman and owners have different ideas. Lokeren yesterday sacked their manager Rùnar Kristinsson after just 2 matchdays this season and it has left a bitter taste in my mouth of I’m honest. If you want to feel worried that there have been no goals and 5 conceded, yes that’s fair. But I believe I just mentioned Gent and Oostende who haven’t even picked up a point as well.

The club have invest in players this pre season and I honestly thought the team would kick on. Seeing as they haven’t just yet really shouldn’t matter. I honestly think the players need time to still gel together. To pull the trigger on Kristinsson is a bit of a panic move.

Peter Maes is already in the hot seat. He has been out of work for half a season since his dismissal from Genk last Christmas and it does make you wonder, if Lokeren hadn’t hired Rùnar Kristinsson and Genk had got rid of their man sooner, would he have just gone back then? This is why I feel this stinks. Granted Lokeren had their most successful spell under Mae’s, but I think this was lined up before the Kortrijk match. The board may have thought ‘we’ll give it a couple of days after the defeat and then we’ll announce this’.

It happens all the time. One manager leaves and before you can blink, a new manager is installed. The difference between this and Sint Truiden is that Tintin Marquez left after 2 matches when STVV have performed well, but from what I have now heard, it was down to his poor language skills coming across to the players. Maybe a case of ‘lost in translation’ could be on the cards. And as well as that’s funny in one way, if this is true, it’s totally unprofessional from the group of players.

I’m shocked if this is true because you’d feel Marquez’s language skills in Belgium should be adequate? It’s not his first time coaching in Belgium. But the board have insisted that the vision of the manager and the board weren’t the same. That there was a shortlist of 5 managers they interviewed yet Marquez was best. That this decision is best for the club…the club…the club! Three points out of six isn’t a bad return so far, and maybe the club are pining for Ivan Leko? But if the club decided letting Tintin go after 53 days is a good choice, then it’s clear the club didn’t do their due diligence.

Either way the clubs have either been open and honest of their assessment of what’s happened and I’m being over cynical of this, or, maybe there is something that stinks beyond these dismissals?

Posted in Uncategorized

Back in Time: Lierse S.K. 1996/97

I’ve decided to blog random bits of history, whether it be about the Belgian Pro League, the second tier, European competition or The Belgian Cup (Beker van Belgie). The reason I’ve thought up this segment is not only to educate myself about the past, but to anyone who reads this, if anyone actually does, and to see that Belgian football isn’t about 1 or 2 teams, or the odd great player produced quite regularly actually, and that teams in the past competed and that the impossible is sometimes possible.

I have been wondering what and who to write about recently. I want to continue with this on my blog because it mainly educates me, knowing who have been the forces in Belgian football history and what Belgian clubs have achieved at home and abroad. And for one brief moment 20 seasons ago (last season) Lierse were the best team in the land!

It has been over 35 years from their last title win, and they weren’t showing signs of winning another, seeing as their highest finish that decade up until the title success was 5th, two seasons in a row prior to the title victory. The thing is, this crop of players seemed to be different. That summer, manager Eric Gerets made some important signings. Signings which didn’t only add quality, but instilled their names within Lierse history beyond this title win. He brought in goalkeeper Stanley Menzo who proved to be an inspired signing from PSV Eindhoven and Eric van Meir, the young defender signed from Charleroi, who would prove to be a magnificent signing. He not only became top scorer, but would stay with the club in some capacity after retirement.

Beyond these 2 new recruits (that I’ve heard of) include Bob Peeters, Carl Hoefkens and Nico van Kerckhoven. All these players played their part in winning the league, especially Peeters and van Kerckhoven who played every match! But the season wasn’t looking too good to begin with. In fact, it was so poor, they only won 2 of their first 9 matches. One of them against Charleroi where they had 3 players sent off! Greets probably was looking at his team hoping to save them from relegation!

But as summer turned to winter, De Pallieters then won 7 of their next 9, losing and drawing one each, going into the second half of the season with something to build from, although I doubt the title was still a thought…? The year 1997 couldn’t have started better though. A tough trip away to face Club Brugge was ahead and Lierse were magnificent. Lierse were 3-0 up before the hour, proving that the winter break was just what they needed. After a mini revival from Blauw-Zwart, Lierse scored another through Zefilho to seal the win!

Lierse eventually lost one game to Sint Truiden, but that was it! Undefeated for the rest of the season, including an unbelievable 5-1 home victory over Anderlecht, with Lierse being 4-0 up at one point! A quite magnificent turnaround, losing 2 matches from the end of September. Lierse proved they were worthy champions in the end after the horrid start. Winning the league over last season’s champions Club Brugge by just two points, Eric Gerets success still remains legend, as we will unfortunately never know when the club will hit these heights again?!? First step will be promotion, then consolidation before maybe, just maybe, this famous club could be amongst the title contenders…?

Posted in Uncategorized

When Will Gent’s Season Start?

I was going to write this yesterday, but walking to Pafos FC stadium, plus I was tired last night, I’ve waited til this morning. It probably would’ve read better last night with ideas popping into my head, but that’s my fault. Anyway, back to the actual topic I’m writing about. KAA Gent have massively faulted so far this season.

Out of Europe losing out to Altach and ZERO points in the Pro League, I was looking at certain things which may be why they’re stuttering. I didn’t look very far mind but I thought are the transfers to blame? Jeremy Perbet has left…nope, I wouldn’t say him leaving is a problem.

Is it because Jacob Rinne has been in goal? Actually, that maybe a problem. No offence Jacob, but there’s a reason Lovre Kalinic is No. 1! Certain decisions made by the Swede have been costly, especially in Europe (unless I’m mistaken) so I think you can say the lack of your first choice goalkeeper can be a problem. Most clubs would say that in fairness.

Another thing is that Yuya Kubo hasn’t hit the ground running like last season. I said to someone very recently that I agreed with their comment of him potentially being a top scorer in Belgium this season, but he seems to slow down once at the club in his second season. Ask Young Boys. It’s definitely unfair to be critical of players after 2 league games, but Gent have had 4 competitive matches in total. Two matches in the Europa League in which that doesn’t just affect the club financially but on the pitch. That player Hein Vanhaezebrouck was eyeing up has now moved elsewhere because of lack of continental football.

Then again, it wouldn’t hurt Gent doing what Anderlecht and Club Brugge have done and cherry pick better players from Pro League clubs? Look at Mats Rits. Performing at Mechelen, De Buffalos next opponents, he can make a difference. If goals are the problem, why didn’t Gent look at Elton Acolatse seeing as relegated Westerlo lost their top 2 players to two Champions League clubs?

Obviously Gent didn’t have to go for Acolatse but you get my point. Be more prudent. Which brings me to the gaffer. I’m honestly not pointing fingers, although I can see it looks that way, but give it a couple more weeks, would he have been the first sacked if it wasn’t for STVV beating them to it?

I’m a firm believer that literally every point counts, and now Gent have to make up 6 on Brugge, Zulte and Charleroi and four points on Anderlecht. That’s the difference between the championship play offs and Europa League. The difference between Champions League qualifiers and Europa League qualifiers.

I could be as hard on Oostende as I am on Gent, but they have had a tougher start in the league (just) and definitely a tougher Europa League draw. Like I’ve said before, I have no agenda against any Pro League club. In fact, I like Gent because they knocked Tottenham out of Europe last season. But if Gent fans read this, let me know your feelings and what you believe or actually know and feel whats wrong?!

Posted in Matches in Brief

One Goal Can Make all the Difference

Today has seen some real quality in regards to taking that chance and then holding onto what you have (unless you’re Eupen) but even then…well, I’ll get into that later. But four of last season’s top 6 we’re in action, with 3 of those unfortunately disappointing in Europe as well in midweek.

And talking of disappointing, Gent welcomed Antwerp to the Ghelamco Arena. A lovely sunny day where the sun shines on the righteous. And that applies to Royal Antwerp who have been fantastic without being extravagant. One goal in two matches, but those two matches were against 66.666…% of last season’s top three. And this is where one goal makes the difference. Reda Jaadi intercepting a lose ball and with his second touch, finishing with devastating style.

And that was that for the Great Old, where right now, Gent are royally stinking out the place at home and in Europe. This season already is one where De Buffalos would love to unsafe, restart until they get their season well and truly going. Nobody is taking charge right now and it’s too early to look at the manager. Then again, all credit has to go to Antwerp who are fully riding the crest of the wave since promotion!

A few hours later, Sofiane Hanni showed how vital he really is to Anderlecht. Netting the winner against Oostende, follow an initial Henry Onyekuru effort. The Algerian, in my opinion, may not last til either the end of this month, or certainly won’t be at Les Mauves at this point next season. He really is a top player in everyone’s eyes surely, and this won’t be the last time this season where his presence and leadership will be the key factor between one point and three! The champions did however deserve the win regardless anyway. But the clubs first three points will be a big relief!

Lastly, Club Brugge bucked the trend as they were 3-1 winners at the Jan Breydel Stadion. Before I started this it was 2-1 and I thought that would be that, but a late red card for Siebe Blondelle and an Abdoulay Diaby goal changed everything, at least in this post!

But before all of that, it was in fact Eupen who took the lead. I mentioned in the first paragraph that Eupen ruined the ‘taking your chance and holding onto it’ as we all know they didn’t, but an extremely deep run from Diawandou Diagne, almost Forrest Gump-esque and capped it off with a sweet, low drive under the keeper to give the Pandas the lead!

However, another penalty conceded in the Pro League was converted by Jelle Vossen before half time maybe changed the complex of the match. It took til the 65th minute where the fantastic Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure scored a fantastic goal, striking across his body diagonally past Hendrik Van Crombrugge. So 3-1 for the Blauw-Zwart, Club Brugge maintain their 100% record, second to Zulte Waregem on goal difference.

I honestly thought I’d pine for Youri Tielemans and Nany Dimata this season, but nothing of the sort has happened. Two matches in and with Oostende, Gent and Genk stuttering, this could be a fantastic season ahead!

Posted in Uncategorized

Zulte Flexing their Muscles Early On

After finally having the chance to look at the highlights in the Pro League so far this weekend, Zulte Waregem, no matter how mediocre their opponents have been, have taken advantage of their relatively easy start and have impressed me. They’ve taken control and advantage in their matches sweeping STVV and Eupen away.

The last match of the Saturday fixtures saw ESSEVEE finally take all three points in the end. After a goalless first half, Sint Truiden lost Damien Dussaut to a second yellow card. Whether or not that actually made the difference in the outcome, we’ll never know. But what we do know is that Zulte Waregem immediately made their one man advantage count. Michael Heylen opened the scoring three minutes after that red card.

In all honesty, Zulte Waregem dominated all the best chances, and were clinical from set pieces. A soft handball which led to the penalty which sealed the match didn’t matter to Zulte fans, as Leya Isaka dispatched the penalty in a cool fashion. Six points, seven scored and none conceded, Francky Dury will take this fine start and hope to build off of it.

The first match of the day saw a 7 goal thriller…wait, erm…could say rout, but is 5-2 a rout? Anyway, Charleroi comfortably saw off Mouscron at the Stade Cannonier. I tweeted saying ‘3-0. Job done’ just before Bolongi snuck in a nervous penalty on the stroke of half time. But before that, an own goal from Bruno Godeau, a weird goal by Lukebakio and another penalty by Pollet looked to have wrapped the game up! But VAR came into play with the Mouscron penalty, although in real time I thought it was a penalty, the replay actually made it look less convincing.

At half time a Mouscron fan tweeted me saying ‘3 goals from 2 shots’ which is true, but I wasn’t sure if that was sarcasm or bitterness at the abject performance? But things didn’t get better for Mouscron as Lukebakio and Dessoleil sealed the win by the hour. Poor goalkeeping by Nicolas Penneteau allowed a 25 yard strike go through him by Govea Garcia but that was that really! Another team on maximum points in Les Zèbres.

Beveren welcomed Mechelen in a match of well taken goals, but poor defensive errors did help. Three unmark strikes til, in my opinion, a poor free kick which went all the way in saw a 2-2 draw.

Ryota Morioka with a goal in either half could’ve been effective if Beveren could hold onto a lead, but Mats Rits saw that Mechelen would remain undefeated with an excellent run seeing nobody pick him up, striking home the finish nice and swiftly, before his late free kick was over hit, but Merveille Goblet didn’t seem to deal with it at all. His reaction showed his disappointment.

Both teams end with 2 matches and 2 draws to their name. Waasland Beveren are probably the happier regarding the opposition, and Mechelen may feel likewise with how the matches planned out!

Kortrijk took their first three points with a home win over Lokeren. A 13th minute winner by Christophe Lepoint settled the match at the Guldensporenstadion. Lokeren still without a point or a goal, I really believed with their transfer business they would do better, but it is still early days. However, 5 goals conceded and none scored in 2 matches could be a problem of this form continues!

Lastly, Friday night saw one of the matches of the season so far in terms of fixture, with Standard Liege hosting Genk! And Genk took the lead through Siebe Scrijvers with a fine solo effort, sneaking the finish in at the front post. Standard had to show grit as this was the second game in a row where they’d fallen behind, and that character showed in the second half. Another weird goal, with weak goalkeeping saw Edmilson score just after half time, until a fine effort from Paul-Jose Mpoku lashed in a fine winner on the night.

Genk haven’t gotten into gear so far,and a slow start is what ruined their season last term, so Albert Stuivenberg will hope to get things going sooner rather than later!

Posted in Player Profile

Player Profile: Zinho Gano

I’ve been thinking about who to write about this week because I was thinking another goalkeeper. But going back to last season, I think 2 of my last 3 or 4 have been about goalkeepers. Plus, Zinho Gano deserves some of my attention if I’m honest. Well…That’s what I believe.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Last week the tall Belgian (although I swear I’ve referred to him as Brazilian) was fantastic. Away at Genk he stole the show, albeit in a 3-3 draw, but his composure in the last minute to level the match looked a fine and level finish. With his 2 goals in the match, that put him in the UNIBET team of the week, along with my Player Profile from last week! 

Gano has a few strings to his bow too. Very good in the air, wiry, can get in behind defences and physically strong. Perfect for Beveren who are fortunate to have him, although similarly, he is lucky to have Beveren. Personally, I thought the lanky front man finished the season and play offs very well, especially after the tough start to the play offs that Waasland Beveren had. 

I feel slightly guilty because I honestly think he is a decent player. He gets on the scoresheet often for a team where they aren’t expected to win regularly and he does himself proud in some performances. The reason I feel guilty, before I digressed, is because I feel slightly hungover still and I’ve written this later than I’d hoped! 

Courtesy of Getty Images

Beveren vs Mechelen is a match where both teams are aiming to get their first wins. Phillipe Clement has seen his side come back from a setback, which is one positive. But has also seen his side go from a 2 goal lead, to a one goal deficit in 35 minutes of football. Mechelen on the other hand need to learn that once you’re in a winning position, hold it for at least longer than a minute!

Big game at the Freethiel where the big players need to step up. For Beveren’s sake, they’ll hope it’s their talisman.

Posted in Matches in Brief

This Week has Gone Fast!

I was out yesterday wandering around, no cares, just casually going about my business. Had a nice meal last night in a Mexican restaurant and got back late, keeping abreast the Europa League results where, the less said the better. And then I realised it’s Friday today and I’ve given no thought to any Belgian football. The only thing I really took note of was Orlando Sa’s retweet from Standard Liege regarding Genk rocking up to the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

And that’s where I’ll start, where tonight see’s a huge !arch early on this season. Both drawing their first matches after coming from behind in both, and with it being so early into the season, it can be tough to see where both teams are at. The fact they both didn’t crumble after going behind and won a point, I’m guessing the far more deflated will be De Smurfen who also threw away victory too. The likelihood of a home win is greater in my opinion.

Saturday see’s…hmmm…a lot less glamorous fixtures taking place. We begin with two teams where one will definitely lose their 100% record. Mouscron, who shocked me, welcome Les Zèbres to town. Both won 1-0 last time out, and maybe Charleroi were less convincing with an 11th minute penalty sealing a home win. Mouscron may well surprise us again, with Mircea Rednic bolstering his squad this week with at least 3 signings that come to mind.

Following this is Kortrijk vs Lokeren and Beveren vs Mechelen. To be honest, these are the sort of matches where, no offence, I write about but in honesty, am I bothered? But then it gets to full time and there’s been 8 goals like Roeselare – Mouscron last season. You’re pleasant surprised. To be fair, Beveren taking on Mechelen looks the more… appetising, but all four are looking for their first win and Lokeren are looking more at keeping the scoreline down to a respectable figure.

Saturday finally ends with table topping Zulte Waregem, who demolished a lackluster Eupen last weekend, taking on a spirited Sint Truiden who picked up an impress and late victory at home against Gent on the first weekend. Zulte will look to carry on their form, but it won’t be as simple as last time out, and I’m sure STVV won’t commit so many errors either.

Sunday sees the, no offence, European rejects come out and play. Gent will hope to see three points at home against promoted Antwerp. Gent have performed pretty poorly in all honesty. Out of Europe altogether, it makes you think if they weren’t in the Championship play off last season at Mechelen’s expense, maybe Mechelen would’ve performed better? We’ll never know, but they may not have done any worse. Antwerp will look to last weekend as a huge positive and a stepping stone as on paper, they have had the toughest start out of all the teams thus far.

Sandwiched in between Gent – Antwerp and the final match is Anderlecht against Oostende. De Kustboys will be without Sebastien Siani who is suspended and that is a big blow. Oostende were embarrassed last weekend with that defeat to Mouscron. No offence to REM but I didn’t see anything but an Oostende win. Anderlecht play their first home league match and will hope to do a lot better than last weekend!

Finally see’s Club Brugge host hapless Eupen. Brugge, who lost to Istanbul Basaksehir will maybe have the league as their relief. They seemed to treat Lokeren like that last week with a huge marker of a result and will hope Dennis Bonaventure will have his shooting boots on again! Eupen on the other hand would probably treat this as a ‘free match’ and will just hope they’re not too embarrassed again?

Posted in Pro League in Europe

What Will Last Nights Defeat do to Club Brugge?

I knew Blauw-Zwart were playing last night, honestly I did, but I was too busy getting married. So I checked the result this morning and saw that unfortunately, the Champions League will have to be put on hold for another season. I’m gutted because firstly, unlike with English clubs, I genuinely want all Belgian clubs to succeed in Europe. Secondly, it means I can’t see Belgian clubs in the top competitions. Coefficient gets hit by this and if Anderlecht get an uneasy group, it could spell even more trouble.

Courtesy of Getty Images

But I’ve said this before. If English Championship clubs can buy players from Champions League clubs across Europe for £15 million then what chance do Belgian clubs have? Last night you look at Istanbul Basaksehir and they Gael Clichy, Emre Belozoglu, Eljero Elia and Emmanuel Adebayor. All played at top clubs and in the Premier League very recently (apart from Elia) whereas Brugge are snapping up the best from the Pro League or good clubs in Europe, but not great clubs.

Playing in Turkey is always an uphill task due to the atmosphere and heat. An unfortunate 2-0 defeat is what happened with 2 first half strikes. However, with the first leg being a total disaster in the end, what if Brugge held on to that 2 goal advantage, just like the Turks did, we may be talking about progression. Giving the Belgians something to hold on to away, a performance where as long as you don’t concede is possibly easier than a match where you must score.

Club Brugge can look at some positives in that the Europa League is somewhat of a possibility if you go by Genk and Anderlecht’s brave journey last season, and with a minor miracle, it would be a great achievement if Oostende turned around the 2 goal deficit AND if Gent finally get their fingers out and actually perform this season, at home and abroad. Four teams in the Europa League is better than 2, and if they’re all of title winning quality, which they all are, then that enhances the Pro League’s chances.

Courtesy of Getty Images

I’ll end by simply saying this experience should put Club Brugge in good stead in that they should never become complacent after the 3-3 draw last week and be happy and professional with any advantage you have. Big or small.

Posted in Matches in Brief

Week One is Done in the JPL 

Belgium football kicked it’s season off this weekend and Sunday, as in yesterday, saw a couple of results of raise some eyebrows and make you think that this season could be an unpredictable one. The majority of the top teams haven’t picked up maximum points and the main reason is most probably rustiness, but isn’t it great that a few people down the bookies were seen to have egg on their face.

Yesterday saw two matches that looked good on paper, and one that seemed a bit of a walkover. That’s what I believed, and I’m guessing many followed suit. And a good looking fixture saw Mechelen welcome Standard Liege which was settled in the opening 10 minutes. A goal from summer signing Stefan Drazic was immediately cancelled out by the reliable Orlando Sa. It seemed a must not lose rather than a must win, as both teams eased themselves into the upcoming Pro League season.

Secondly, we saw Sint Truiden, under the management of Tintin Marquez hosted Gent who probably had both eyes on the Altach match rather than the match at the Staaien. But De Buffalos took the lead through Franko Andrijasevic six minutes before the break. Thereafter, the Charlton Athletic connection came into play. Igor Vetokele equalised before Cristian Ceballos completed the turnaround with around 20 minutes to go!

However, Gent never gave up and scored an equaliser of their own through Samuel Gigot 3 minutes later, pegging back De Kanaries! Fifteen minutes left, you’d feel the imputus and quality would be with the visitors, but with the freshness of STVV, Cristian Ceballos stole the show, as the Spaniard netted a winner just before stoppage time! Gent already pegged back and a fantastic win for Sint Truiden who have lost some real quality over the summer.

Lastly, this was the match where you felt it’d be one way traffic, and some stats proved that to be right. But with a goalless first half, Mouscron would’ve taken a draw before the match. I was speaking during the week and I haven’t given the team any hope for survival. Thankfully though, my opinion counts for nothing in Belgian football, especially on the pitch, and Congolese striker Jonathan Bolongi struck midway through the second half. And that was that. A fantastic win and already a vital one for Mouscron. Sebastien Siani saw red too as De Kustboys lost their discipline late on in a poor home defeat to open their league season.

I would’ve posted this earlier but with other things going on around me, I still felt I had to write this for Mouscron. A fine win for a team where they do show they have it when the chips are down. Just ask Westerlo. 

Posted in Matches in Brief

This is What We’ve Been Waiting For!

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. 

Courtesy of Getty Images

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.

Courtesy of Getty Images

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!

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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!