MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, December 28, 2020
Only the American defenders saw significant action as both Matt Miazga and Brendan Hines-Ike put in full shifts for their respective teams in weekend Belgian Pro League action.
Anderlecht 2 - 0 Beerschot
Les Mauves returned to winning ways and closed out the year with a victory over Beerschot on Sunday afternoon where they had so many chances at the final score could have been a lot worse for their visitors from Antwerp.. Matt Miazga continued in his central defensive role and helped keeper Timon Wellenreuther to a clean sheet as Lukas Nmecha and Paul Mukairu took care of the goals.
It was one way traffic for the first 25 minutes of the game with a few of the Anderlecht players taking shots at the Beerschot goal but a mixture of skill and luck helped Mike Vanhamel from allowing the ball to cross his goal line. The assault continued and when Killian Sardella put a cross into the box around the half hour mark, Denys Prychynenko hoped that the referee didn't see him defend with his hand. But he did and Monsieur Laforge pointed to the spot. Nmecha did the honors, putting the ball on the spot and beating Vanhamel for his 10th goal of the season. The Belgian keeper had guessed the right way but was unable to keep the ball out as his luck too ran out.
It could have been 2-0 just before the half when Percy Tau was clear on goal but from a dozen yards out he missed the target as he shot for the far post and watched it sail wide. Miazga got in on the offensive action and from a corner kick almost registered his first goal in Belgium but the far post header also missed crawling into the inside of that post.
Although possession was relatively close, les Mauves had 22 shots, compared to Beerschot's seven. And it was one of those shots in the 71st minute that sealed the victory. Mukairu picked up the ball close to the left side touch line and raced down the field past a trio of defenders. As he got into the box, just to the left of the near post, he squared himself and whacked his shot past the diving keeper and into the far post netting.
With the victory sealed and the short winter break upon them, Anderlecht can rest easy as they have finally made it back into the top four play-off spots. They'll be back in action when they travel east to take on OH Leuven, who are only three points behind them in sixth place.
Kortrijk 1 - 0 Gent
Brendan Hines-Ike was another American defender who helped his keeper to a clean sheet in Pro League action. The Coloradoan went the distance for the Kerels in a hard fought contest.
Gent made it difficult for themselves thanks to their Ukrainian striker, Roman Yaremchuk who, off the ball, decided to elbow a Kortrijk player in the back of the neck. The red card came out and the #7 headed to the showers.
It took until four minutes into the second half however before the hosts took advantage and Faiz Selemani was allowed to run free as the defenders back up and once inside the D, unleashed a shot that left the Gent keeper flat-footed.
Kortrijk have had a season of mixed fortunes thus far and now find themselves on a healthy 26 points after 19 games. They'll get to improve on that when they host Genk on January 9th.
Ethan Horvath kept his place on the bench as Simon Mignolet picked up a clean sheet with the 3-0 victory against Eupen. They'll start the new year in the top spot and will get things underway against Sint Truiden.
Joe Efford wasn't able to work up a sweat as he entered the field of play in the 92nd minute as his Waasland-Beveren team went to Genk and came away with a point. The score ended 1-1. The Flemish side ends the year in 15th place but only two points from relegation. Their first game of the new year will be on the road against Standard Liege.
Chris Durkin came off the bench in the 78th minute for Sint Truiden but all the scoring was done in the first half as for his team as they came away 2-1 winners against Standard. The win still leaves them second from bottom of the Pro League standings. Next up will be an even tougher contest when Club Brugge heads to the Stayen on January 10th.