MICHAEL ADUBATO - Friday, April 20, 2018
Kenny Saief and Anderlecht fell to Standard Liege while Erik Palmer-Brown and KV Kortrijk squeezed past Leuven to boost their chances for the Europa League playoffs.
Standard Liege 2 - 1 Anderlecht
Having closed the gap over the weekend against group leaders Club Brugge, les Mauvres fell at the next hurdle when they travelled to Liege and were beaten by Oguchi Onyewu's former team at the Stade Maurice Defranse. American midfielder Kenny Saief went the full 90 minutes and picked up a late yellow card for his efforts.
Standard scored in the 10th minute thanks to poor goalkeeping by Matz Sels. A cross came into the 18 yard box from the left side and the Belgian keeper should have had no problem booting it away but with defender Leander Dendoncker practically on top of him, he attempted to kick it clear but didn't make contact and Renaud Emond was there to make him pay. The Belgian front man tapped it in from a couple of yards out.
In the 23rd minute Ryota Morioka should have done better with Saief's cross to the near post. Instead the Japanese international hit it over the crossbar. In the 39th minute Sven Kums had a clear look at goal but his shot was saved by the near post and ricocheted to his American colleague who forced Francisco Guillermo into a diving save.
Order was finally restored and the score levelled in the 40th minute when a ball cleared out of the Liege box was collected by Adrien Trebel at the very top of the D. Being closed down, the Frenchman shot and the slight deflection gave the Mexican goalkeeper no chance to make the save. The score remained one-all as the referee blew for half-time.
When the clock struck an hour played, Mehdi Carcela-González collected a pass at the top of the box, dribbled in and before a defender got near him he shot at the inside of the near post and that is exactly where the balled ended up. The goal turned out to be the game winner.
After closing the gap to three points behind Brugge, this loss combined with Club's 6-0 thrashing of Charleroi, les Mauves are again six points behind the leaders.
Up next will be a trip to Genk. The Flemish side played out a 0-0 game against Gent midweek.
KV Kortrijk 2 - 1 OH Leuven
In group action to determine who will make their way into a Europa League play-off spot, American defender Eric Palmer-Brown was given the nod as he started for De Kerels in this much needed victory over the second division team.
The game was actually a tale of two penalties; both awarded to Kortrijk and both taken (and scored) by French frontman Teddy Chevalier. Both goals came in the first half in the 12th and 38th minutes. The visitors did get one back immediately after the re-start, thanks to the head of Macedonian attacker Jovan Kostovski.
The win leaves KVK in second place, just a point behind Zulte-Waregem. These two teams will face off against each other Friday night in Waregem to see who will control the group.
Sporting Lokeren ended their game at home at 2-2 against KV Oostende. Juan Pablo Torres didn't play and didn't even make it onto the bench. Sporting is currently at the top of their play-off group after four games.
An Ethan Horvath-less Club Brugge humiliated Sporting Charleroi 6-0.