Bruno Fahy/Belga/Imago

Belgian Recap: Stalemate in “Battle of the Yanks” on Friday Night

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Sint-Truiden 1 – 1 Eupen

In this “battle of the Yanks,” both of the American boys were in the starting line-up with Gabriel Slonina keeping his starting job between the sticks for the Pandas, while Kahveh Zahiroleslam‘s recent performance earned him a starting spot for STVV. He put in an 86 minute shift in this game that saw the Canaries three points reduced to one after the visitor’s stoppage time strike.

The deadlock was broken after just 20 minutes but unfortunately for the goal scorer, it was his team that went behind. After some good play on the left wing by Zahiroeslam, Daiki Hashioka got the ball on the right flank and sent in a delicious cross from the right but Eupen defender Rune Paeshuyse intervened and gotin front of Aboubakary Kiota before he could shoot from inside the box. It ended up in the back of the net however but is credited to the defender.

But in the 94th minute, another Eupen player scored and this time into the right net. Alfreo Finnbogason sent a ball into the box from 30 yards out and Milos Pantović got the slightest of touches to beat Zion Suzuki from close range to rescue a point.

Next up for 9th place Sint Truiden is a trip to Westerlo to take on a couple of Americans, while Eupen welcomes Molenbeek over the weekend.

Antwerp 3 – 2 Genk

Royal Antwerp, who hadn’t won a league game in a month, are finally back to winning ways after scoring thrice in the first half. Genk fought back but a very late goal was not enough to secure any points for their bus ride back home. Sam Vines is still weeks away from fitness, while Mark McKenzie went the distance for the Smurfs.

The Belgian Champions took the lead after five minutes thanks to Vincent Janssen. That was followed by Michel-Ange Balikwisha two goals that were also struck before the half. With a three goal lead they never looked back.

Nobody told the Smurfs that the game was over after that 39th minute third goal because they fought back. Defender Jelle Bataille fumbled the ball in his box and gifted it to Andi Zeqiri. The Swiss striker accepted the gift and blasted it into the back of the net for his third strike of the season.

The second half saw both sides cancel each other out until Daniel Munoz struck in the 99th minute. But as the saying goes, it was too little too late.

Antwerp will travel to Portugal to take on Porto in Champions League action on Tuesday night, while Genk heads to Hungary to take on Henry Wingo and Ferencvaros in Europa Conference League action.

Molenbeek 1 1 Kortrijk

Alex Mighten was in the starting line-up for Kortrijk when they traveled to Brussels over the weekend and shared the points with Molenbeek after the full 90 minutes. The English-American front man played 72 of those minutes.

Both goals came in the first half of the first half of play, English striker Oluwaseyi Ojo lighting up the score board after just 16 minutes and then Molenbeek’s Ilay Camara getting things back on par in the 24th minute.

Mighten will look to take part over the weekend when KVK travels to the German border to take on Slonina and Eupen.

Leuven 0 – 2 Westerlo

After back to back 3-1 losses at the hands of USG in the League and then Beveren in the Cup game, Westerlo remembered how to win and came away with a 2-0 shutout against 13th place Leuven. Both Yanks were in the starting line-up for KV Westerlo over the weekend with Bryan Reynolds going the distance in his defensive role and Griffin Yow putting in a 76 minute shift.

The first half was a mediocre display by two soccer teams that have been very unsuccessful so far this season and left the fans checking their watches, wondering whether hitting the pub would have been a better option. The second half was fortunately much better. Twenty minutes in Westerlo were awarded a penalty.

As Westerlo attacked, Reynolds entered the box with the ball at his feet from the right side and was brought down to his knees when Hamza Mendyl attempted to push the ball away but missed it completely but caught the American instead. Nicolas Madsen put the ball on the spot and scored his third goal of the season.

It only took another five minutes for the second goal to bend the net. After Leuven had two chances to clear a 20 yard free kick, it fell to Sehrii Sydorchuk at the top right of the 18 yard box. The Ukrainian hit it on the volley right inside the far post.

The win takes Westerlo out of last place and they’ll look to get out of the bottom four relegation zone when they welcome to Sint Truiden to town.

Standard Liege 1 – 1 Mechelen

After their emphatic 5-0 thrashing of Harelbeke in midweek Cup action, les Rouches returned to league action and were humbled by struggling Mechelen who scored very late to leave the Sclessin with a valuable point. Marlon Fossey started the game but was pulled off in the 11th minute after a 2nd minute collision. He tried to play on but was unable to do so.

Hayao Kawabe scored from a free kick at the top left side of the box after just 20 minutes but Standard let the points get away in the 89th after some poor defensive play that gifted the ball to their opponents and Rob Schoofs was the last to get the pass that he pushed into a goal that the keeper had deserted.

Fossey will hopefully be back for the Liegoise’ next game, which will be a Saturday afternoon visit to the Belgian champions, Antwerp.


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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