MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Joe Efford went the distance for Waasland-Beveren in a losing effort, while Chris Durkin and Sint-Truiden suffered a shutout loss to Cercle Brugge.
Waasland Beveren 2-4 Anderlecht
It was a shoot-out in the Freethiel Stadium as six goals flew into the back of the nets with Anderlecht getting the lions share and the three points on Saturday night.
Before Efford and his team were able to settle into the game, they found themselves behind after just three minutes to begin a terrible night in front of them home fans. Jérémy Doku picked out his team mate, Adrien Trebel in the box and the Frenchman had time to fire the ball into the top corner of the far post. They could have added to the tally as shots by Doku and Lucas Nmecha failed to ripple the net.
Around the 12th minute mark, the referee pointed to the spot and the Lions' minions sighed in unison. Nmecha made a move in the box and it looked like defender Aleksandar Vukotić tripped him up. The VAR asked the referee to review the incident and the referee rescinded the Serbian's yellow card and showed it to the Manchester City loanee for his unconvincing dive.
However, it didn't take long for les Mauvres to double their lead because in the 18th minute Nmecha failed to score but the rebound fell to Doku who succeeded.
It took 38 minutes before Anderlecht's keeper, Hendrik Van Crombrugge had to get involved in the game. He blocked a decent shot from Daan Heymans and then another soon after by Leonardo Bertone.
Just before half time, Moroccan defender Amine Khammas gave up a penalty which was so obvious that VAR didn't get involved. Nmecha probably wished that he didn't get involved either because he blew the chance of putting Anderlecht 3-0 going into the locker room.
Just after the restart Beveren should have pulled a goal back when Daan Heymans found himself all alone when a corner kick was signed, sealed and delivered right to him. The unmarked Belgian saw his effort sail over the crossbar. Bertone also had a crack at goal but Van Crombrugge stood tall.
Things took a turn for the worse however and on the counter attack Yari Verschaeren netted his first of the season. To make matters even worse, if that were possible, les Mauvres won another penalty and this time Nmecha made sure that he made it count.
Down four goals to none at the hour mark, the hosts figured that it was now or never and a few minutes were on the attck. Efford flew down the left wing and served up a sweet cross on a silver platter to Din Sula that would have taken a lot of effort not to convert. Heymans added another one, his fifth of the season but it was too little, too late in the end.
Waasland-Beveren will travel to 't Kiel next to take on Beerschot, who sit in fourth place for what will be another tough game.
Cercle Brugge 3-0 Sint-Truiden
Chris Durkin went the distance for Sint Truiden as the team fell on the road to Cercle Brugge in this Monday night game. The three goals were scored by three different players; Dino Hotič bagged the first, Ike Ugbo the second and then a very late one by Victor da Silva, who came off the bench.
The hosts started off quickly and managed to keep up the pace for long spells of the game. They even found the back of the net early on but Jean Marcelin's strike was disallowed because of a handball call. Cercle remained on the front foot however.
The breakthrough came in the 25th minute when Dimitar Valentinov Velkovski got the ball to Hotič and the Bosnian slid it over the line and into the goal. Not being greedy, he later won a penalty and presented the ball to the English birthday boy who placed it on the spot and collected his gift of a goal. This was at the half hour mark and was the last goal of the half.
The Canaries were relieved to hear the half time whistle and came out of the dressing room with a bit more purpose but that didn't last long. Cercle continued to be the dominant threat. Ugbo missed his brace by rattling the post and a half decent shot from Frank Kanouté should have increased the lead. Sint Truiden's best attempt was from Lee Seung-Woo who should have scored and would have scored except for a great save by the crossbar.
While the visitors faded, the hosts kept at it and were rewarded a minute into stoppage time when da Silva, aka Vitinho (because he is Brazilian) got the ball from Charles Vanhoutte and made it count. It turned out to be a night to forget for the travelling STVV fans and team. Next up however will be another road trip; this time to take on Mechelen.
Club Brugge scored a half dozen goals against Zulte-Waregem as Ethan Horvath watched from the bench. The third-place team will stay at home as they welcome fellow Jan Breydel Stadium tenants, Cercle Brugge, onto the field on Saturday afternoon.
Brendan Hines-Ike was not on the team sheet as Kortrijk fell to Standard Liege, 2-1, on the road. On Friday night they'll take on Royal Antwerp at home.