Midweek Belgian Recap: Points Shared Among Yanks

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All the active Yanks picked up a point in a pair of midweek clashes in the Belgian Pro League.

Antwerp 1 – 1 – Sint-Truiden

Having taken all the points from the Great Old in November with a 2-1 victory at the Stayen, STVV were looking to do the double over Belgium’s oldest team on Tuesday night.  Things did not go according to plan however when the hosts struck in the first half courtesy of Michel-Ange Balikwisha.  They did however fight back to secure a point thanks to Taichi Hara’s second half strike.

As for the Yanks, Sam Vines went the distance in his left back position at the Bosuil but Chris Durkin did not even break a sweat as he entered the field of play in the 87th minute.

Michael Frey should have done better in the 23rd minute when he found himself one-v-one against Alessandro Russo deep inside the box.  The newly signed Italian keeper, who was making his first appearance, snuffed out the attempted shot to keep the ball out of harm’s way.

Antwerp’s 32nd minute goal did have a bit of luck involved.  With the ball at his feet, Christian Bruls slipped and lost possession to Ritchie De Laet who said “danku wel” and headed down the field.  He picked out Balikwisha, who shot from the top of the D and beat Russo at the near post.  Welcome to Belgium, Alessandro!

It took until after the intermission before the visitors would get back into the game.  This one came off a corner taken by Bruls.  He picked out Toni Leistner and the German flicked the ball across the box to a grateful Hara, who slid in to make contact and direct it into the back of the net in the 53rd minute.  This was the man from Japan’s fourth goal of the season.

His Japanese colleague, Daichi Hayashi thought he scored the game winner in the 74th minute but he was embarrassingly offside.

The point, where second place Antwerp probably expected more, puts them nine behind league leaders USG but equal on 44 with third place Club Brugge.  They will try to make up some ground when they travel to Gent on Sunday afternoon.  As for the Canaries, they will host Charleroi on Friday night.

Gent 1 – 1 Oostende

Kyle Duncan was called into action when the Seasiders made the trip to Gent and put in a 90-minute shift in a game where they blew an early lead and ended up sharing the points with the Buffaloes.

Thierry Ambrose struck not long after the game got underway but his goal was cancelled late on by Andrew Hjulsager’s first of the season.

Although the KVO goal came in the 8th minute, they could have gone ahead three minutes early off a corner kick where Cameron McGeehan should have scored at the near post from a yard out.  The one that did find the back of the net however, was set up by Robbie D’Haese.  The Belgian got into the box and pulled the ball back for his French teammate.  The shot was struck with so much gusto that even a defender getting in the way could not keep it out. 

 Five minutes later it should have been all square but Julien De Sart’s free kick from 20 yards out narrowly ended up on the wrong side of the near post.  Alessio Castro-Montes was also denied by a fine save from Guillaume Hubert and Tatsuhiro Sakamoto should have done much better with his effort that sailed well over the crossbar. 

The second half arrived and Gent remained relentless in their pursuit for the equalizer.  After a couple more chances, it finally came in the 74th minute from Castro-Montes cross into the box from the right flank.  Hjulsager had to jump but did that with style as he nodded the ball past the KVO keeper.

The Buffaloes had a couple chances to win it but then so did Duncan when, in the 80th minute, he received the ball about ten yards out.  His first touch was poor however and the danger was averted.

Oostende is sitting in 15th place and have a mountain to climb if they hope to make it into the European places playoff group.  Currently they are eight points out of that spot but will look to gain ground on Saturday when they make the srt trip to take on Cercle Brugge.


Jacob Montes was not on the Molenbeek team sheet as his new team feel at home to Westerlo on Tuesday night. The loss widened the gap to 11 points but at the same time, they failed to gain any ground on second place Waasland-Beveren.

Next up for John Textor’s team is another home game on Sunday afternoon.  The opponents will be sixth place Excel Mouscron.


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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