MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, August 31, 2020
Joe Efford has returned from injury while Chris Durkin started on the bench but played the second half of his team's one all tie in weekend Belgian action.
Waasland Beveren 1-3 OH Leuven
After getting a bit more time to recuperate from a recent injury picked up against Standard Liege, Joe Efford was back in the starting line-up for the Lions and he even contributed a goal, although in a losing cause as league newcomers Leuven put three past Lucas Pirard in the W-B goal.
The home team started off well and even threatened the Leuven goal early on. Aboubakary Koita had a couple of good chances, as did Jur Schryvers but neither player could actually get their shots on target. Leuven midfielder Xavier Mercier had no such problems with finding the goal however because from a free kick on the half-hour mark, the Frenchmen had Pirard picking the ball out of the back of his net.
OHL's lead lasted only a half dozen minutes after the restart, although Mercier had another good sniff at goal, but Jenthe Mertens collected a pass deep from his own half that landed in front of the visitor's goal. The Belgian's sharp cross was misjudged by Daniel Iversen and the Danish shot stopper didn't stop Efford's shot, or better said, his gifted tap in that put his team on level terms.
Apparently still on a high from the equalizer, the W-B defenders fell asleep when a corner kick was played short and that pesky Mercier mercilessly punished the hosts as he found the back of the net yet again. That one was scored in the 58th minute.
As time ticked away, W-B did have a few more attempts, including one my Efford five minutes before the final whistle but again it was from the foot of a Leuven player, this time Thomas Henry, who is also a Frenchman despite his Anglo sounding name. The only reply was a red card for Maximiliano Caufriez, who will not only get to rest next week during the international break but also the two games that follow.
Having started off the season with a victory over Kortrijk, the Yellow-Blues have lost three in a row. Hopefully the break next week will allow the coach to right the sinking ship because on September 12th, they'll travel to Jan Breydel Stadium to take on the Belgian champions, Club Brugge.
AS Eupen 1-1 Sint Truiden
The Canaries travelled to the eastern border town of Eupen and managed to escape with a point thanks to a very late penalty strike by Yuma Suzuki who netted his second of the season after the Pandas took an early lead.
American Chris Durkin started on the bench but came onto the field of play to start the second half, replacing Samuel Asamoah.
STVV started the game full of confidence but before a quarter of the game was gone, they found themselves having to fight back after Julien Ngoy scored from close range. Things did improve for the visitors when Jonathan Heris made a silly challenge on Santiago Colombatto that the referee missed, but not so the VAR. The Belgian defender was shown red and sent to the showers early, leaving his team to play for over an hour while down a man.
Eupen's coach decided that his team should park the bus in front of goal and see if the visitors could break them down and breach the goal before time ran out. And they did have some half chances, although nothing that really troubled goal keeper Ortwin De Wolf. The break through did come before the referee blew his whistle. Benoit Poulain fouled Zuzuki in the box and the Japanese striker placed the ball on the spot and sent De Wolf the wrong way.
Sint Truiden opened the season with a win, then a loss but have now registered their third tie of the young season. Next up they'll stay at home and welcome Royal Antwerp.
KV Kortrijk traveled north to take on Cercle Brugge at the Breydel but Brendan Hines-Ike didn't make the trip due to a recent injury that he picked up. The Kerels still came away with the 1-0 victory in a closely fought contest. After two defeats, they've picked up seven points out of a possible nine, so are well on their way. After the break they'll stay at home and will have a derby on their hands as their neighbors Excel Mouscron make the short trip to Guldensporen Stadium.
Vincent Kompany has retired and is Anderlecht's full-time coach now. He couldn't secure a win against KV Oostende over on the coast but he did achieve sending Kenny Saief back on loan again to Lecia Gdansk. YA will not be covering the adventures of Anderlecht while the American is away.
Ethan Horvath remained on the bench as Club battled Genk on the road and came away with a 2-1 victory thanks to a first half goal by Hans Vanaken and then the winner with minutes to spare by Youssouph Badji. Club will host Joe Efford and Waasland-Beveren after the international break.