It was the final weekend of the season for the Belgian Pro League with most of the American contingent seeing action, as well as Bryan Reynolds scoring for Kortrijk.
Kortrijk 2 – 3 Anderlecht
Bryan Reynolds got the nod and started his last game for Kortrijk, the team that Roma loaned him to earlier this year. The American ended his Belgian adventure by putting in an 84 minute shift and putting the ball in the back of the net.
Anderlecht desperately needed all the points to make sure that they ended up in the top play off group and managed to secure a top spot thanks to a trio of goals by three different players.
The Brussels boys had if not a mountain, at least a hill to climb after surrendering a penalty that Aussie Trent Sainsbury converted just after 20 minutes into the game. The lead didn’t last long though because just five minutes later, Joshua Zirkzee had Maxim Deman picking the ball out of the back of his net.
After the intermission the visitors went ahead and never relinquished their lead. Anouar Ait El Hadj scored just his second goal of the season in the 52nd minute and Christian Kouame joined him on the score sheet five minutes later.
In the 67th minute however, Reynolds scored his first and only Kortrijk goal but it was too little, too late for the Kerels.
With the season over, the former FC Dallas defender’s loan move comes to a close. He had stated in the past that he would not be against a permanent move to Kortrijk, so whether or not Jose Mourinho sees him as a part of the AS Roma set up remains to be seen. We could ultimately see him return to Belgium in the new season.
Antwerp 1 – 1 Cercle Brugge
In this last game of the Pro League regular season, Sam Vines and the Great Old claimed the point that keeps them in the top group of the playoffs that allows them to challenge for the title of Belgian champions.
After a first half that produced no net benders, the action began soon after the intermission. Michel-Ange Balikwisha scored just three minutes in but Brugge’s second team, owned by Russian yet-to-be sanctioned oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, fought back and Kevin Denkey found the goal that claimed a point for Cercle.
Benson Manuel’s ball into the box from the right flank was poorly cleared. It indirectly ended up with the Belgian striker who scored with his right foot from 10 yards out, giving him his fourth and final goal of the season. And it would have been two nil 10 minutes later if not for the acrobatic save of Cercle’s Brazilian keeper, Warleson.
The equalizer came from a free kick after Denkey was brought down as he charged into the box. The referee, having not made a call, consulted VAR and gave the foul but deemed it to have occurred just before the Belgian crossed the line.
Dino Hotič shot from 18 and a half yards out ricocheted off the near post, across the face on goal and into the path of Denkey, who put it in from close range.
The point leaves Royal Antwerp in fourth place and makes them the only team with American interest in the top play off group. The playoff schedule will be reported as soon as it becomes available.
Eupen 0 – 2 Oostende
With nothing to play for but pride, Kyle Duncan and KV Oostende made their longest road trip in the Pro League to Eupen and came away with a victory over the team that narrowly escaped relegation. The American started for the Seasiders but didn’t see the game out thanks to a couple of first half yellow cards. It was the visitors however who came away with the victory, thanks to goals from Thierry Ambrose in the first half and Alessandro Albanese in the second.
It would be fair to say that Eupen started out the match in the front foot and should have scored after a few minutes. KVO got back into it but things did swing back in the hosts favor in the 28th minute when Duncan’s season ended.
In the end going down a man didn’t influence the game that much. Ten minutes after the American walked, the Oostenders celebrated when Ambrose found the back of the net.
After the intermission Eupen looked calm and collected and moved the ball around well, which ended in what they thought was a goal in the 62nd minute. Smail Prevljak scored but the Bosnian was ruled to be off sides.
The hosts continued to play like they were a man up and dominated possession but KVO did counter a few times. The one time that it counted, Albanese latched onto a long ball, spotted Robin Himmelmann off his line and looped it over the stranded German keeper’s head to put the game to bed.
With their season over, Duncan can enjoy a very long vacation or, quite possibly, could find himself on loan with an MLS team. Watch this space.
Seraing 0 – 2 Genk
Having already been condemned to the playoff spot to fight for their Pro League survival, Seraing continued their losing ways by dropping all the points ato Mark McKenzie and Genk, who just beat Sint Truiden into eighth place and that important playoff spot for the second group that will fight it out for a coveted European place next season.
The American went the distance in his central defensive position as Junya Ito and Kristian Thorstvedt scored on either side of the intermission.
The Smurfs will now regroup and wait to start the playoffs that will get underway after the Belgian Cup final that will be played on Easter Monday.
Club Brugge finished in second place, just three points behind USG, which leaves them in a great position to reclaim the Belgian title yet again after beating Mechelen by a 2-0 score line. Of course there was no Owen Otasowie and he is not expected to be with the team for the playoffs or next season.
Molenbeek ended their season with a win and will go into the play off against Seraing to fight for a place in the Pro League. Their meaningless game against Waasland-Beveren, which was won 2-1, would have been a perfect opportunity for Jacob Montes to get some playing time but he wasn’t even named to the bench. With his loan move over, he should return to Crystal Palace but will most likely end up on loan again net season.