Belgium’s Pro League kicked off its new season over the weekend with Mark McKenzie and Genk making a statement with their demolition of newly-promoted Molenbeek.
Molenbeek 0 – 4 Genk
It was a bit of a goal-fest for Mark McKenzie and Genk, as well as a “welcome to the big leagues” for Molenbeek, who were taking part in their first top-flight game since 2002. The RWDM faithful filled the tribunes at Edmond Machtens Stadium, settled into their places and created an amazing atmosphere for their team.
The crowd fell silent however in the 31st minute when Alieu Fadera was spotted in front of goal by Joseph Paintsil, who delivered the pass and watched keeper Theo Defourney fail in keeping it out of his goal. With that goal, the floodgates opened as the hosts lost all composure because seven minutes later Bryan Heynen scored from the penalty spot after Fadera was brought down in the box.
The game was already over before the referee put the whistle to his lips to blow for halftime because Daniel Munoz scored as the clock struck 45 minutes with his head after Heynen’s shot was saved by Defourney and fell to the Colombian.
In the second half, Genk took their foot off the accelerator a bit and made some changes but still, they scored. Paintsil picked out Carlos Cuesta in the box and so the team’s other Colombian also got his name on the score sheet.
McKenzie and his defensive partners had a quiet day at the office as Genk controlled the ball for 70% of the game and faced just nine shots overall.
It will probably be a tougher test for the Smurfs on Saturday when they face Eupen but before that, they’ll be Servette from the Swiss Super League to Limburg for the home leg of their Champions League qualifier. The aggregate score is currently 1-1, so there will be a bit of work to do if they wish to move forward in Europe.
Sint Truiden 1 – 0 Standard Liege
Marlon Fossey went the distance in his right back position but he and Standard Liege could not find the back of the Canaries net and ended up surrendering a very late goal that meant they boarded their bus back home with no points in the bag.
Over the 90 minutes, it was pretty much an evenly matched display by both sides with the hosts controlling the ball for 54% of the game and also narrowly edging their visitors in shots on goal by a five-to-four margin.
Just after the intermission, Fossey found Noah Ohio in the box and although the Dutch forwarded got off a half-decent shot, it was blocked before it could ripple the STVV net.
The goal that won the game was created and scored by Aboubakary Koita when he latched onto a throw-in. The Antwerp-born forward dribbled across the top of the box and unleashed a screamer from distance and watched it sail just inside the far post.
Standard will lick their wounds for now but will be back in action on Friday night at the Sclessin when they host Union St Gilloise, who beat Anderlecht in their opening game.
Sam Vines came off the bench in the 80th minute to shore up the Antwerp defense as they held on for the 1-0 over visiting Cercle Brugge. The defending champions were fortuitous to see Cercle defender Jesper Daland put the ball into the back of his own net to decide the game.
The Great Old will head south on Sunday afternoon to take on Anderlecht, who lost their opener to Union St Gilloise.
Griffin Yow did not suit up for Westerlo’s opener when they traveled to Eupen, on the German border, on Saturday afternoon. After going down 2-0, the Gamecocks fought back and in stoppage time found the goal that gave them a share of the points.
They’ll have a tough game on Sunday when Club Brugge comes to town and Griffin will be hoping to take part in the action. Bryan Reynolds made his return to Westerlo following a transfer from AS Roma, so he’ll be looking to get in on the action come next weekend.