With the league stage of the Pro League coming to an end in just two weeks, the biggest match of the season so far took place at Jan Breydelstadion where second-placed Club Brugge had the opportunity to reduce the eight-point deficit on the league leaders Standard when the two teams clashed on Sunday.
Brugge boss Michel Preud’homme recalled top-scorer Maxime Lestienne to the starting eleven following an injury as the manager chased a vitally important three points. The home side started brightly and Eiji Kawashima had to be at his best to deny Vadis Odjidja. Brugge spurned a great chance after half an hour when Lior Refealov had time to pick his spot from inside the penalty area but Standard defender Laurent Ciman blocked well. Standard came under more pressure in the second half when Kawashima spilled Odjidja’s effort but managed to save Lestienne’s subsequent rebound. The league leaders did fashion chances of their own and were unlucky not to take the lead when Brugge captain Timmy Simons had to clear the ball of the line before Yoni Buyens hit the post. Twelve minutes before the end the deadlock was finally broken. Jesper Jorgensen received the ball on the edge of the area and his shot beat Kawashima after being deflected, scoring his third goal in as many matches. Club Brugge held out for a massive 1-0 win. The gap has now been reduced to just four points between Brugge and Standard, which will reduce to two once the play-offs are underway.
Week 28 of the Pro League kicked off on Friday night when Mechelen took on Lokeren. In a relatively even match it was the home side which took all three points. Mads Junker scored the only goal of the match after 30 minutes, handing Mechelen a 1-0 win. Mechelen’s first win in five matches pushes them up to 12th.
Waasland-Beveren slipped to 14th after a 2-2 draw at home to Zulte Waregem. Zulte, looking to bridge the gap between themselves and Anderlecht in first place, took an early lead when Sven Kums fired home ten minutes in. But five minutes later they were pegged back, as Ivan Trickovski put the home side level. Idrissa Sylla completed a frantic opening 23 minutes by putting Zulte ahead once more, his goal assisted by Chelsea loanee Thorgan Hazard. Substitute Dalibor Veselinović secured a point for Beveren on the hour, but his side are just five points from the relegation zone.
Elsewhere Gent secured back-to-back wins by overcoming Sporting Charleroi 2-1. Goals from Nana Asare and Mahamadou Habibou won the game for Gent after Satli had put Charleroi ahead. Gent remain 7th, while Charleroi drop to 13th.
A mid-table clash took place at Guldensporenstadion where Kortrijk entertained Cercle Brugge. The home side emerged comfortable 4-0 winners thanks to goals from Mustapha Oussalah and Elimane Coulibaly either side of Stijn De Smet’s brace completed a first half rout.
Bottom-club Mons are putting together a smart run in the season run-in, they won their second consecutive match at home to 9th placed KV Oostende. Tim Matthys’ double put Mons 2-0 up after half an hour before Arnor Angeli added another ten minutes into the second half. However, the home side remain ten points from safety. But like the Club Brugge-Standard situation, that gap will halve once the play-offs begin.
Lierse and relegation-threatened OH Leuven played out a goalless draw at Herman Vanderpoortenstadion. OH are still in 15th place while Lierse remain in mid-table, seven points from the relegation zone and ten points behind the Championship play-off places.
The final match of week 28 was in Brussels on Sunday where Anderlecht clashed with Genk. John van den Brom’s Anderlecht ran out 2-0 winners with both goals scored in the second half. Aleksandar Mitrovic and David Pollet were on target for the 3rd placed club.
Mechelen 1-0 Lokeren
Gent 2-1 Sporting Charleroi
Kortrijk 4-0 Cercle Brugge
Lierse 0-0 OH Leuven
Mons 3-0 KV Oostende
Waasland-Beveren 2-2 Zulte Waregem
Club Brugge 1-0 Standard Liege
Anderlecht 2-0 Genk
League table courtesy of Fifa.com
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