The Pro League’s American defenders both experienced the thrill of victory, while Chris Durkin suffered the agony of defeat in midweek Belgian action.

Antwerp 4 – 2 Eupen

Playing in their last home game of the year, the Great Old put four past Robin Himmelmann in the Eupen goal, while the visitors responded with only two, which were two too few to take anything from their trip to Flanders.

Sam Vines played the entire game at the Bosuil and helped his team hang onto third place in the Pro League standings.  Mbwana Samatta, Benson Manuel, Radja Nainggolan and Birger Verstraete did the scoring for the Antwerpers.

Benson created the first goal, dribbling past a defender and placing the ball on Samatta’s head for the Tanzanian to easy put into the back of the net. The goal came in the 27th minute. 

The next was not until the 40th with the provider turning scorer. It was Manuel’s fifth of the season.  Just before the intermission however, Sibiry Keita hit an unstoppable strike to ease the visitor’s pressure.

Antwerp soon restored their two-goal lead after the restart when former Belgian international and hometown hero Nainggolan hit a scorcher that gave Himmelmann no chance of even attempting to make a save.

With the two goal lead restored, the visitors pushed hard to get back into the game.  And they did just that in the 77th minute with Bosnian striker Smail Previjak getting one back.

The Pandas weren’t giving up and kept pushing forward but were caught on the counter when Verstraete scored deep into stoppage time to lock down the final 4-2 result.

Antwerp hits the road over the weekend for a trip to Limburg where they’ll take on Mark McKenzie and Genk.

Genk 4 – 2 Charleroi

Genk had to come from behind to defeat the Zebras of Charleroi, and did it in style with four goals scored. McKenzie went the distance in his central defensive role and picked up a second half yellow car in the victory.

Four of the goals came in the first half with Jackson Tchatchoua getting the visitors on the board first after 27 minutes with his first goal of the season.  The assist was provided by Jamacian international, Shamar Nicholson. 

Genk’s prolific goal-getter Paul Onuachu brought his team level eight minutes later before Junya Ito, who assisted on the Nigerian’s goal, scored one himself. 

It was then Ali Gholizadeh leveling things up a minute into first half stoppage time. 

After the break Patrik Hrošovský put Genk back into a lead that they would not relinquish, but only add to in the 82nd minute, thanks to late second half sub Luca Oyen’s even-later strike with just minutes left on the clock. 

The Smurfs have gotten back to winning ways after only collecting one point in their last three outings. They’ll have their hands full in their next game against Royal Antwerp.

Anderlecht 2 – 0 Sint Truiden

The wheels seem to have fallen off the STVV bus as the Canaries suffered their fourth consecutive defeat, this time in Brussels against an Anderlecht side that rediscovered its form with five victories in a row. 

Chris Durkin started for the visitors but was substituted off at half time, so he had no involvement in surrendering the two second half strikes.

Les Mauves looked the better team from the kick off, although could do nothing with the ball that threatened their opponents goal.  After the intermission Yari Verschaeren missed a great opportunity to put Anderlecht in front, but Daniel Schmidt’s acrobatics diverted the ball away from his goal.  The Japanese international could do nothing about Lior Refaelov’s header from three yards out however, as the Israeli scored his eighth of the season on the hour mark.

Majeed Ashimeru put the icing on the cake deep in stoppage time to send the Canaries home with no points in the bag.

They’ll try to right their recent wrongs on Saturday night when they hit the road again, this time traveling to Gent.

Notes

Club Brugge crushed Leuven at Den Dreef by a score of 4-1.  Unfortunately Owen Otasowie is finding his feet in the reserves so didn’t make the team sheet for this one.  Up next for Club is one of the biggest games on the Belgian calendar when Anderlecht comes to town.

By 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 Amazon.com, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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