MICHAEL ADUBATO - Tuesday, February 2, 2021
In Game Day 25, Chris Durkin opened his goals account in a win for Sint-Truiden, while both Matt Miazga and Mark McKenzie helped their respective teams to clean sheets in weekend Belgian action.
Mechelen 0-0 Genk
Mark McKenzie has gotten himself into the starting XI at Genk having, just joined the team a few weeks ago, and he did well enough to help his backline and goalkeeper Daniel Vuković keep a clean sheet.
Genk had an early chance with a free-kick that Théo Bongonda hit very well over the wall but keeper Yannick Thoelen was able to get to in order to keep the ball out of his net. Both Bongonda and Bastien Toma also threatened the Mechelen goal but were kept at bay. At the other end, Vuković wasn't kept very busy, only having to face a couple of shots from distance.
McKenzie had a flawless performance as he seemed to fit into the team as if he'd been with them all season and thus far looks to be a very good acquisition for the team from Limburg.
This coming weekend McKenzie will face off against fellow American Matt Miazga when Genk hosts Anderlecht.
Anderlecht 0-0 Gent
It was another clean sheet for Anderlecht as Matt Miazga continued anchoring the backline but it was also two points dropped for the third game in a row, as les Mauves were unable to find the back of the net for the second time in three games.
It was a game that fans would not have found very exciting, if they were allowed to attend, with neither side offering much upfront. Although the hosts barely dominated possession with 54% of the ball, they only managed eight attempts at goal, with only three of them on target. The Buffaloes were just as bad with their possession, though registering one more shot on goal.
With the lack of victories as of late, Anderlecht is fortunate to still be in the hunt for a top-four playoff spot with only nine league games remaining. They will look to get things back on track when they travel to Liege to take on Standard, who are on the same points as their opponents.
Sint-Truiden 3-0 Cercle Brugge
Chris Durkin got the nod when Cercle Brugge came to the Stayen on Sunday night and the young American repaid his coach's confidence in him by scoring his first goal of the season late in stoppage time. The Canaries beat the struggling Brugge side 3-0, with the other goals coming from Jorge Teixeira and Christian Brüls.
Although the game started off slowly with no threats at either end of the field, the first goal came after just 17 minutes with the first chance of the game. Brüls found the ball at his feet well outside the 18-yard box and hit a screamer, beating Thomas Didillon between the Cercle sticks
The great shot inspired the team and soon afterward the 32-year-old Belgian midfielder was unlucky not to score again when his shot from a free-kick was pushed away by Didillon and then another save from Dimitri Lavalée's attempt.
After the intermission, Yuma Suzuki had a great chance but saw his shot sail over the crossbar. It wasn't all one-way traffic however with the visitors squandering a couple of chances at the other end. But again it was the hosts who lit up the scoreboard. This time Brüls got the assist when his free-kick was met by the head of Teixeira, in the 64th minute, and sailed into the back of the net.
In the 94th minute, Durkin got to celebrate only his second goal since joining the team back in 2019, more than securing the three points although still in the penultimate place in the Pro League standings. Four points from safety, they'll look to pick up even more over the weekend against Oostende. First however they have a Belgian Cup game against fourth division Lokeren-Temse during the week.
Ethan Horvath remained on the bench as Club Brugge kept up their winning ways with a 3-1 win over Standard Liege. They now have a 14 point lead over second play Royal Antwerp and third place Genk. Up next is a Wednesday evening Belgian Cup game against D4 Olsa Brakel before they return to league action at Waasland-Beveren.
Joe Efford played the last 15 minutes for Waasland-Beveren but it was in a losing effort as they fell 3-2 to Royal Antwerp. They have a midweek Belgian Cup game against Oostende before taking on Club Brugge at home.
Brendan Hines-Ike was an unused substitution when Kortrijk hosted Sporting Charleroi. The result did not go their way however with the visitors winning this one by a 3-1 score line. Hines-Ike will be looking to take part when they travel to second place Lommel in Belgian Cup action. They'll then get back to league business when they make the short trip to take on Excel Mouscron.