MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, May 7, 2018
Erik Palmer-Brown went the distance for Kortrijk in a losing effort while Kenny Saief was missing from the Anderlecht team sheet in weekend Belgian action.
Kortrijk 1 - 2 Zulte-Waregem
American defender Palmer-Brown anchored the defense for Kortrijk but the team fell short as they lost by two first-half goals to one. In order to keep their Europa League play-offs hopes on track, KVK needed to make the most of the home leg against neighbors Zulte Waregem.
With great traveling support, it only took Essevee 15 minutes to take the lead, thanks to Congolese midfielder Nill De Pauw setting up front man Theo Bongonda, who netted his fourth goal in this play-off group. The lead was short lived however because local boy Kristof D'Haene set up his Algerian team mate Idir Ouali for his 21st minute net bender.
All of the goals were scored in the first half, with the last one being courtesy of Peter Olayinka. De Pauw also played provider for this game wthe inning strike.
With the loss, de Kerels are now 7 points behind Z-W with just a trio of games to go. Though not mathematically dead just yet, a win by Essevee on Tuesday night against the worst team in the group, Waasland-Beveren, would confirm them as group winners. Kortrijk will travel to OH Leuven.
Juan Pablo Torres took no part in Sporting Lokeren's 2-1 defeat at the hands of visiting Royal Antwerp. Sporting thought they had secured a point until substitute William Owusu scored the winner in the 94th minute. Though defeated, Lokeren still lead the group by 3 points with 3 games to go. They travel to the Belgian coast to take on KV Oostende on Wednesday night.
In the battle of Brugge, Ethan Horvath was on the bench for Club while Kenny Saief missed out completely as he had to serve a suspension for a couple of yellow cards. Les Mauvres came out on top however and have closed the gap to just a pair of points.
Anderlecht will have a tough game at home on Thursday afternoon however, as they go up against Oguchi Onyewu's former team, Standard Liege. The Walloons have collected more points than any other team, having secured 13 from a possible 15 in the group stage. Club, on the other hand, will travel to Charleroi to take on the Zebras who sit in the fourth spot. Regardless of the results of both games, a champion will not be crowned until at least the weekend.