Belgian Recap: Vines makes his Royal Antwerp debut

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Sam Vines opened his account over the weekend for his Pro League team, while Chris Durkin helped his STVV squeak out a victory on the road.

Cercle Brugge 0 – 1 Sint-Truiden

Young American Chris Durkin seems to have cemented his position in the Canaries midfield as he started away in the Venice of the North, aka Brugge and went the full 90 minutes in a game where the visitors scored early and then had to play over a half hour a man down after Rocco Reitz’s red card.  Daichi Hayashi hit the game-winner.

Only three minutes into the game, the Japanese goal scorer picked up a yellow card when a ball to him took an awkward bounce and he decided that the best way to control it was with his hand.  his goal did however, come and that was in the 10th minute.  It was a close one call where VAR had to be consulted to confirm that his team mate, Ilombe Mboyo wasn’t offside during the build-up.  He wasn’t and the Congolese-Belgian registered the assist.

After the intermission, new signing 19-year-old Reitz came on to start the second half and the excitement of playing must have been too great for him that he makes a ridiculous tackle against Olivier Deman and is shown a straight red card.

The hosts began to dominate the ball if not the game and kept Daniel Schmidt busy in the STVV goal but the Japanese international was up to the task and kept a clean sheet as he helped his team collect all the points.

Sint-Truiden will be back in action after the international break and will once again be on the road.  This time they travel to the city of Antwerp to take on Beerschot at the Olympic Stadium.

Antwerp 2 – 2 OH Leuven

Sam Vines made his Royal Antwerp debut at home when The Great Old hosted Leuven at the Bosuil Stadium on Sunday afternoon.  The American defender played the entire game, as his team had to share the spoils after blowing a two-goal lead. 

You couldn’t blame the hosts for thinking that it might be an easy afternoon at the office when Leuven’s Mathieu Maertens gifted them a goal in the 38th minute. Instead of making a headed clearance, the Belgian headed into the back of his own net.  Then in first half stoppage time, Michael Frey scored from the penalty spot to send the Antwerp boys into the locker room up by a pair of goals.

OHL wasn’t about to roll over however and just 10 minutes after the restart they got themselves back into the game with Cenk Özkacar’s header that came from a free kick from Frenchman Xavier Mercier.

Coming off the bench in the 76th minute, Levan Shengelia who was making his second appearance since joining Leuven, struck two minutes after coming onto the field.  It was Mercier again who provided the pass that breached Jean Butez’s goal.

After a pair of draws, Antwerp will look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Eupen after the break. 


Belgian champions Club Brugge made the short trip down the highway to take on Gent and when it was all over, they left with their collective tails between their legs as they suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat.  Of the half dozen goals, keeper Simon Mignolet was responsible for one, an OG which probably had fans wishing that Ethan Horvath was still around.  Owen Otasowie was there but he remained on the bench for the duration.  He’ll hope to make his debut after the break when Club hosts KV Oostende.

Mark McKenzie came on in stoppage time as Genk scored an 87th minute goal to hand Vincent Kompany and Anderlecht a weekend without points in the Pro League.  Genk’s victory leaves them in fourth place.  They’ll look to climb higher when they host Union St Gilloise, who happen to be in the top spot, after the break.

Joe Efford put in a 77 minute shift for his Waasland-Beveren team as they ripped Excel Mouscron apart by a 4-0 score in First Division B action.  The road win sees the Flemish side move up to second place.  On Saturday they’ll travel to Dender to look for another three points. 


Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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