Bruno Fahy/Belga/Imago

Belgian Recap: Slonina, Eupen Back to Winning Ways

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After Game Day Four in the Pro League, Gabriel Slonina got to taste victory, while Bryan Reynolds and Marlon Fossey suffered defeat yet again.

Kortrijk 1 – 3 Eupen

After last weekend’s thrashing by Club Brugge, a shell-shocked Gabriel Slonina found himself back in the starting line-up and redeemed himself between the Eupen sticks to record his first win on Belgian soil. The American keeper played the full game and picked up a 99th-minute yellow card.

After three games and already with four points for a team that flies under the radar, the Pandas were able to score thrice in West Flanders and record their second win of the season with three goals by three different players.

Kortrijk attacked first and Slonina had his first save from Felipe Avenatti, after just two minutes. The Uruguayan could have scored minutes later but this time it was the post that made the save.

The back of the net finally rippled 11 minutes after the re-start. Eupen won a free kick and Isaac Nuhu gets the ball deep to the right side of the KVK goal. He pushes the ball over to Gary Magnee, who curls it brilliantly into the top left corner.

Four minutes later it was 2-0. This “team goal” was started by Amadou Keita who pushed forward with the ball and picked out Nuhu. The Ghanaian in turn watches Keita’s run and plays him through with a cheeky heel pass. The midfielder hits it sweetly and wheels away, celebrating his first goal of the season to put his team up by two goals.

If the Pandas thought that they already had the points in the bag, they were sorely mistaken because in the 66th minute, their lead was cut in half after Abdelkahar Kadri made a great solo goal, catching the defense and Slonina napping.

Just to make it more exciting, the American 19-year-old keeper picked up a yellow card for time wasting deep in stoppage time. Deeper into it, however, in the 102nd minute Jerome Deom finally puts the game to bed.

Now on seven points, Eupen will host Leuven on Saturday night.

Anderlecht 2 – 1 Westerlo

Bryan Reynolds started for Westerlo in his right-back position against Anderlecht but Griffin Yow was left off the team sheet in this loss in Brussels. Anderlecht took a very early lead and doubled it in the second half before Westerlo made the sweat with an 81st-minute strike.

Before they could put on their game faces, De Kemphanen found themselves down a goal after just 30 seconds when les Mauves pushed forward, with Theo Leoni putting a cross into the box and watching Kasper Dolberg tap the ball in from close range. This was the Dane’s second goal of the season thus far. He could have had three just three minutes later but when he met the cross with his head, it was easily claimed by Nick Gillekens between the KVC sticks.

Eventually, the hosts did get their heads into the game but with their few first-half opportunities, could not make any of them count. After the intermission, early on, Jan Vertonghen had a very good chance to double the lead but his header from the corner kick was saved by an acrobatic Gillekens.

It was the former Tottenham defender who scored a brilliant solo goal in the 72nd minute when he dribbled past a couple of defenders and banged the ball into the back of the net for what would be the game-winner. It turned out to be the game-winner because Westerlo woke up and got one back.

The 81st-minute goal came out of nothing. Second-half substitute Yusuke Matsuo broke out of the middle of the park and picks out Edisson Jordanov, who makes a run of his own and when he sees an opening, blasts the ball into the back of the net.

Anderlecht soon made a couple of substitutions and managed to hang onto the three points, leaving their visitors pointless and still looking for their first victory of the season after four games. They will however try again when when they host Mechelen on Saturday afternoon.

Standard Liege 0 – 1 Cercle Brugge

Marlon Fossey was in the starting lineup for Standard Liege as they went looking for their first win of the season when Cercle Brugge came to town. It was not to be, as they were unable to breach the Cercle defense while letting the Green and Black find the back of the net in the second half.

The goal came in the 76th minute when Nils De Wilde sent a perfect pass forward to Alan Minda, who was just a little too fast for Fossey, who caught up to the Ecuadorian a second too late to block the shot that ended up just inside the far post.

It’s back to the drawing board for head coach Carl Hoefkens and then back to the field of play for les Rouches when they head west to take on Kortrijk on Saturday night. KVK sits at the bottom of the Pro League standings with no points.


Mark McKenzie found himself on the bench and never left it when Genk hosted Sporting Charleroi on Sunday afternoon. Neither team could find the back of the net and so the game ended 0-0 in Limburg. McKenzie was most likely saved for the team’s Europa Conference League qualifier that will take place on Thursday evening in Belgium when they welcome Turkish side Adana Demirspor.

The Smurfs should have returned to league action on the weekend against Club Brugge, but this one has been postponed. The second leg against the Turks will be the following Thursday and then they’ll return to league action on September 3 when they welcome red-hot Anderlecht.

Royal Antwerp traveled to Leuven to take on OHL and came home with just a point in this 1-1 result. Sam Vines was missing from the line-up and also the team sheet. The American has not seen action since coming off the bench against Anderlecht earlier this month.

Antwerp will host AEK Athens tomorrow as they look to qualify for the Champions League group stages. Like Genk, the Great Old’s next league game, which would have been against Gent, but that too has been postponed. They’ll return to league action also on September third and will travel to Brussels to take on Union St. Gilloise but also will play the away leg of their Champions League game prior to that.

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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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