It was the last weekend of the Pro League regular season and there were mixed fortunes for our Yanks, but it was Mark McKenzie who shined as he scored his first and only goal of the regular season. The play-offs will soon be upon us.
Charleroi 2 – 2 Genk
The day started out on a high note for Mark McKenzie as he and the league leaders went on the hunt for their final three points, but they fell just short and ended up sharing the points with Charleroi in Belgium’s Black Country.
The American defender finally put his name on the scoreboard in the last game of the regular season but in the end the Zebras fought back to ruin the day for the Smurfs.
Genk won a very early free kick and their assist master, Mike Tresor, placed the ball down and delivered it into the box. It made its way through the box of defenders and fell to the USA international, who easily tapped it into the back of the net in just the second minute.
Before the team could get their heads back into the game, they saw their lead disappear a minute later. From the kick off, the hosts stormed towards the Genk goal and it was Isaac Mbenza who touched it last and knocked it past Maarten Vandevoordt.
Both sides did their best to take the lead but in the end and before the half time whistle, it was the visitors who were celebrating. Joseph Paintsil, the team’s top goal-getter, turned provider this time. He sent a cross to Mbwana Samatta and the Tanzanian hit it hard and true, and into the back of the net just past the half hour mark.
The visitors were riding their luck a bit as they let Mbena in again but this time his shot whacked the underside of the crossbar. The luck didn’t last long because the next goal and last of the game came in the 51st minute thanks to Ken Nkuba’s fourth of the season.
The result left the Charleroi team with a very long summer vacation while Genk gets ready for the Championship play-offs. First up for them is a visit from the defending champions, Club Brugge, who miraculously made it into the top group this last day of the season. The game gets underway this weekend.
Leuven 3 – 2 Standard Liege
Marlon Fossey went the distance in Standard Liege’s last regular game of the regular season as les Rouches fell at the last hurdle in their quest to make the Championship play-off group.
At the same time, the three points were not enough for the Flemish side to make it into the top eight.
After going behind a goal in the first half, Standard fought back with a 55th-minute goal that Colombian Steven Alzate created and Congolese Marvelous Bokadi finished.
The euphoria was short lived however because just a few minutes later Jon Thorsteinsson was placing the ball on the spot and beating Valentin Conocaru between the sticks.
Although they did their best to fight back, the Icelandic striker put the game to bed by hitting the back of the net once again as he ended his season with 12 league goals.
The defeat leaves Fossey and his team in sixth place and with a chance to compete for a European play-off spot when the league play-offs roll around. Standard will travel to take on Cercle Brugge this Saturday night.
Bryan Reynolds was given a rest as Westerlo travelled into Wallonia to take on already relegated Seraing. The American came off the bench in the 89th minute as the last place team collected their last Pro League point with the contest ending 1-1. When the play-offs get underway, Westerlo, who will compete in the second play-off group, will first go up against Gent on Friday night. Reynolds should be back in the starting line-up.
Sam Vines is still missing from the Antwerp line-up but Royal Antwerp won anyway, a 1-0 victory against the Canaries of Sint Truiden. The Great Old ends the regular season in third place and will be fighting for the title of Belgian Champions. They’ll start this mission on May 3rd when they travel to Brussels to take on Union St Gilloise but first they’ll go up against Mechelen over to weekend in hopes of becoming the winners of the Belgian Cup.