Belgian Recap: McKenzie, Genk Hold onto Playoff Spot

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In this penultimate week of the Pro League season, Mark McKenzie and Genk picked up a valuable three points, while Bryan Reynolds and Kortrijk tasted defeat again.

Mechelen 3 – 2 Kortrijk

Although they have had nothing to play for over the past month, Kortrijk continued their losing ways as they failed to win for the fifth time in a row.  Bryan Reynolds was in the lineup and went the distance for the Kerels in this penultimate game of the season. 

Kortrijk did take the early lead, thanks to Amine Benchiab but the Kakkers came right back before the Moroccan scored again. But two more goals from the home team gave them all the points.

Benchiab scored from a few feet out, thanks to poor defending and goal keeping in just the seventh minute. Mechelen took advantage of a corner kick 8 minutes later. Rob Schoofs picked out Sandy Walsh and the Dutchman nodded into the back of the net just inside the near post. Benchiab then completed his brace soon after the intermission thanks to a poor clearance.

As before, KVM fought back in the 53rd minute and Hugo Cuypers finished it off to tie things up yet again. They went one even better three minutes late rwhen Geoffrey Hairemans stuck the game winner.

Before returning to Roma, Reynolds and Kortrijk will host Anderlecht in their last game of the season.

Genk 5 – 0 Eupen

Mark McKenzie started in the center of Genk’s defense in a game that they had to win and win it they did, in style.  Their big center forward Paul Onuachu registered a hat trick while Junya Ito and Bryan Heynen also got in on the scoring.

Coming back from the international break, both sides were without a couple of key players, as well as Eupen’s defensemen Jordi Amat, who was sorely missed by his team on Sunday night.

It only took the hosts 11 minutes to get on the scoreboard after Ito was brought down in the box.  His Nigerian team mate did the honors and scored his first goal of the night as well as his 17th of the season.  And it didn’t stop there.  A few minutes into first half stoppage time, the big man was again placing the ball on the spot and converting as his team entered the locker room for the intermission two goals to the good.

Not even a minute after the restart, Luca Oyen found Ito and the man from Japan surely put the game out of reach with his seventh of the season.  That was followed up by Heynen’s goal in the 68th minute. 

A dozen minutes later Onuachu finally scored from open play after being denied on a couple of occasions, to give his team an emphatic lopsided victory.

For their last game of the season, the Smurfs will travel south to take on Seraing, who will probably have their mind on their relegation playoff games coming up.  They will finish in 15th place, so will play Molenbeek and try to retain their top flight status.


Club Brugge travelled to Antwerp to take on Beerschot, again with no Owen Otawosie in sight, and came away 3-1 winners.  With them and also first place Union St Gilloise winning over the weekend, Club remains five points adrift.  Club will host Mechelen for their last game of the season. 

Kyle Duncan never got off the bench when Oostende hosted Seraing and ended up sharing the points with the strugglers.  The Seasiders had to come from behind twice to secure the point in this game that ended 2-2.  With just a game left, KVO has nothing to play for, as they have missed making the playoffs by a long shot.

Sam Vines was not on the Antwerp bench when they travelled to Leuven to take on OHL on Saturday night.  They escaped with a 1-0 win, which assures them a place in the top playoff group where they’ll compete to become Belgian champions.  Their last game will be a visit from Cercle Brugge.

Jacob Montes did not suit up for Molenbeek’s game at Deinze.  Although the third place team beat American owned Molenbeek by a 3-0 score line, they knew before the game that they could not take over the Brussels’ teams play off spot and would have to settle for another season in the second division. With just two games left to the regular season, Molenbeek have a chance to prepare for their promotion run.  Up next will be a visit from Waasland-Beveren.


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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