Sam Vines was the only American to see significant minutes in Belgian action, while several other Americans made appearances off the bench for their clubs.
Sint Truiden 2 – 1 Royal Antwerp
Sam Vines returned to the Great Olds’ starting lineup on Sunday afternoon when they travelled to the Stayen to take on Sint Truiden in a narrow 2-1 loss.
Chris Durkin did suit up for the Canaries but spent most of the game on the bench, coming on to the field in the 85th minute for the hosts.
It was truly a game of two halves; the hosts dominated the first as they found the back of the net twice before the intermission, with Daichi Hayashi hitting the first one and Aboubakary Koita the second. Antwerp left it late to try to get back into the game with substitute Mbwana Samatta’s 85th minute goal.
For the first Sint Truiden goal, the Japanese striker didn’t have to work very hard to net his second of the season. After the Canaries got the better of a couple of defenders on the right flank, Steve De Ridder spotted his teammate making a run into the box, and made a perfectly weighted cross for Hayashi to strike from 16 yards out. That opening goal came in the 31st minute and another was soon to follow.
After the ball was stolen in St. Truiden’s defensive third, a pass found the 23-year-old striker Koita, who then ran half the length of the field with the ball at his feet, dancing around defenders until he let off a bullet just at the top of the 18-yard box that slammed into the back of the net.
In the second half, the visitors tried and tried again but had trouble breaching the Canaries back line and keeper Daniel Schmidt, who was solid between the posts. The consolation goal did eventually come, however, but not before Koita was denied a second with a goal-line clearance after he beat Jean Bubez in the RAFC goal.
The Tanzanian Samatta’s score for 2-1 came from a corner kick delivered into the box by his Danish teammate, Viktor Fischer. Samatta jumped higher than everyone else and headed it home from close range.
The shock upset leaves the Antwerpers still in second place with the Club Brugge loss; however, they lost ground on first place Union St. Gilloise, who hammered KV Oostende, 7-1 on the road.
Next up for them is a midweek trip to Frankfurt to take on Timmy Chandler and Eintracht in Europa League action on Thursday, before coming home to host Oostende. STVV will hit the road on Saturday afternoon to face RFC Seraing.
Owen Otasowie was still missing in action when Club Brugge travelled to Mechelen on Friday night. The defending Belgian champions didn’t defend very well on the night, with the Kakkers putting two past Simon Mignolet and only finding the back of their opponents’ net once. The loss drops them down to third place. Club will next be in action on Wednesday night when they welcome Jesse Marsch’s RB Leipzig in the Jan Breydel Stadium. Tyler Adams will be expecting to play for the guests, however Otasowie is still likely absent. The team will then return to league action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Genk to take on Mark McKenzie’s team.
Mark McKenzie never left the bench as Genk lost on the road to Beerschot, 2-0. They’ll also be playing in Europe midweek when they travel to Croatia to take on Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League. They will then host Club Brugge in a Sunday-afternoon matinee in Limburg.
In second division action, both Joe Efford and Jacob Montes started on the bench when their Waasland-Beveren team hosted Excel Mouscron at the Freethiel Stadium. Efford came on in the 54th minute, while Montes joined him on the field 20 minutes later. The score was not a favorable as the Walloons struck twice early in the second half to secure their 2-0 victory. Next up they’ll make the long trip to the French and Luxembourg borders to take on Oguchi Onyewu’s Excelsior Virton.