Mark McKenzie and Genk ended up sharing the points with a Sam Vines-less Antwerp, as most of the Yank-relevant games ended up the same way, with their teams earning a solitary point.

Genk 1 – 1 Antwerp

It could have been a Yank vs Yank contest on Sunday afternoon in Limburg when Genk hosted Antwerp, but Sam Vines was given a rest and only made the bench for the Great Old in this stalemate of a game.

Mark McKenzie however did get the nod and went the full 90 minutes for a Genk team that is still outside both of the playoff groups, even after earning the point

As the final score indicates, it was a very tight contest.  The visitors barely dominated the possession stats, with 52%, while Genk had more shots on goal. 

It took about a half hour of play before the deadlock was finally broken by the hosts; Paul Onuachu scored his 12th of the season after an earlier attempt that was turned away by Jean Butez. Theo Bongonda delivered a fine corner right in front of goal that the big Nigerian was allowed to tap across the line to put Genk ahead.

After the intermission the hosts went looking for more and they could have doubled the lead early on but Bongonda’s effort rattled the crossbar. In the 70th minute however, the Smurfs were forced to make a change as their talisman Onuachu was subbed off with a hamstring injury. 

With just eight minutes left on the clock, the visitors struck back. Benson Manuel beat his marker on the right flank and picked out second half sub Viktor Fischer, who rippled the Genk net.  It was the Dane’s third goal for the Antwerpers.

The Smurfs will be back in action on Sunday night when they make the long trip to the Belgian coast to take on KV Oostende, while Antwerp travel to Kortrijk that same afternoon. 

Notes

Joe Efford was subbed off after an hour and Jacob Montes never got off the bench as Waasland-Beveren shared the points with Lommel after their game ended with a 1-1 score. This was the last game of the year for them and they find themselves in second place in the First Division B standings. Their new year of action will begin on January 21st when they make the long trip to take on Oguchi Onyewu’s Excelsior Virton.

Chris Durkin didn’t make the trip when Sint Truiden travelled to Gent for their Saturday night fixture. It was the hosts who came out with all the points in this 2-1 victory. The Canaries next and also last game of the year will be Monday night when they host Eupen.

Club Brugge scored a late equalizer against Anderlecht on Sunday afternoon in the Flemish canal city. Owen Otasowie was still not with the first team for this encounter but will hope to take part in Belgian Cup action midweek when they host Leuven.

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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