Sam Vines

Antwerp has for the first time in their history secured 24 out of 24 points as Sam Vines helped the back line keep a clean sheet. Just up the road Westerlo and Reynolds also win.

Cercle Brugge 0 – 2 Antwerp

Sam Vines and Royal Antwerp remain undefeated in the Pro League after a pair of goals condemned Cercle Brugge to last place for another week. The goals were scored on both sides of the half, with Vincent Janssen scoring first and then Belgian international Toby Alderweireld finding the back of the net for the first time for the Great Old. The American went the distance and picked up a yellow card just before the intermission.

After the hosts had a couple of good chances very early on, it was the visitors who struck first after just six minutes. Jurgen Ekkelenkamp won the ball and picked out fellow Dutchman Janssen who scored his fifth goal in four games. Ten minutes later Radja Nainggolan sent a free kick into the box and Janssen got on the end of it but Cercle’s keeper made the save.

Minutes before the half, Cercle thought they were back in the game but Dino Hotic’s shot that was heading just inside the far post was punched away by Jean Butez.

Cercle came out of the blocks full of gusto to start the second half and had a couple of half chances where they should have done better. But with nothing to show for their efforts, at the other end Antwerp won a corner kick that Nainggolan took. The former international picked out former Tottenham Hot Spur defender, who nodded it home to secure the victory and take the air out of Cercle’s sails.

Hoping to keep the invincible season alive, the Antwerpers will host relegation zone Seraing on Friday night.

Westerlo 2 – 1 Anderlecht

Bryan Reynolds got the nod, starting his second game in a row for the top flight newcomers Westerlo. Collecting a yellow card, the defender from Texas went the distance in the 2-1 victory over Anderlecht. Igor Vetokele scored in the first half, followed by Sebastiano Esposito and Halil Akbunar in the second.

Westerlo looked the better team for most of the game against les Mauves, who were coming off a midweek European adventure against Silkeborg. In fact, it took just six minutes for the hosts to take the lead, thanks to Maxim De Cuyper’s cross into the box from the left that Vetokele buried.

Seven minutes later Nacer Chadli should have doubled the score but Henrik Van Crombrugge was able to punch the ball out of harm’s way. Amadou Diawara had a chance at the other end but his shot was blocked.

Westerlo continued to dominate after the intermission but it was the visitors who stuck in the 70th minute to tie the game up. The goal came from a pair of second half substitutions. Lior Refaelov spotted Esposito, who outran his marker and tucked it away.

The hard work from Anderlecht was undone however with seven minutes left on the clock, Akbunar scored the game winner to give the Flemish side their first win after three losses. They will hope to continue their winning ways next weekend when they travel to Wallonia to take on Sporting Charleroi.

Union St Gilloise 1 – 2 Genk

The Smurfs travelled to Brussels Sunday evening and left Joseph Marien Stadium with all the points in the bag to move up to second place in the Pro League. Mark McKenzie started and went the distance for the fifth time this season. Genk’s goals came very early and then very, very late from Joseph Paintsil and Mbwana Samatta.

Although the hosts got off to the better start, their momentum left over from their shock victory over Union Berlin soon fizzled and their keeper, Anthony Moris was picking the ball out of the back of his net after just a quarter of an hour. Slovak midfielder Patrik Hrosovsky watched Siebe Van der Heyden lollygag on the ball, so he dispossessed the Belgian, picked out his Ghanese team mate, and watched Paintsil light up the score board.

Both teams put up a formidable fight and it was USG who struck next and got themselves back into the game in the 74th minute. After Genk spent the last couple of minutes playing with the ball in front of their own goal for far too long, the hosts took advantage, gained possession in the danger zone and Loic Lapoussin seized his opportunity and scored his first goal of the season.

With time running out, Ally Samatta turned into Genk’s hero when he used his head to nod it home after coming into the game in the 63rd minute. The goal came in the 92nd minute of play.

The win leaves McKenzie’s boys just five points behind Vines and Co. They’ll hope to gain ground this weekend when they host fifth place Gent.

Notes

Jorge Hernandez came onto the field in the 95th minute when Mechelen travelled to Kortrijk and came away with a 4-1 victory. The young American will hope to increase his minutes next time out when the Kakkers head south to Brussels to take on Anderlecht.

Club Brugge beat Seraing on the road by two goals to none but Owen Otasowie took no part in the victory. Club are next on the raod Tuesday when they travel to Porto for a Champions League clash before returning to Belgium to take on Standard Liege.

Tyler Wolff did not make the team sheet for SK Beveren when they hosted and beat Standard Liege Reserves by a 2-1 score line. The young American will hope to see some playing time when they travel to take on Club Brugge II.

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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: