Before the match, Standard coach Dominique D’Onofrio said he was giving more priority to the cup than the league. Not many believed him and if they did, they felt he would perhaps leave Steven Defour on the bench. For once, DD surprised everyone and sent out a side with just four first-team regulars. With Defour, Axel Witsel and Meme Tchite on the bench – everyone sat back for the slaughter.
It was not to be, from the beginning Standard were quicker to the ball and stronger in the tackle. Anderlecht had no creativity and no one prepared to try and dominate midfield. Anderlecht’s young Czech Lukas Marecek was brought in for the suspended Lucas Biglia but he was out of his depth. For Standard, Pape Camara and Jelle Van Dame simply out fought their opponents and strength won the day.
Anderlecht’s new signing Ablaye Seck had a poor game in the middle of defence and only Roland Juhasz looked comfortable at the back. Standard’s three goals were not classics and were mainly down to poor defending. At the opposite end, Standard’s Kanu and Felipe were magisterial and should be competing for a place in the first team on that form.
Standard’s win makes the title race wide open; they are now just five points behind Anderlecht and a win for Genk tonight would put the champions in second place. It’s not obvious what Anderlecht can do. Romelu Lukaku looks like he needs a holiday, while Wasilewski, De Sutter, Lecjaks and Kouyate are not worth their place on this form. Biglia’s return will help but the squad is woefully thin. The big Serb Dalibor Veselinovic came on but looked like he should be back in the second division.
The playoffs should be great for Belgian football but Anderlecht’s gamble in selling Mbark Boussoufa, although he certainly wanted to go, looks like failing. With talk of Biglia, Lukaku and possibly Legear leaving in the summer, the Anderlecht bank account could be very healthy but the club will have no team
Anderlecht; Played 1, 33 points.
Genk: P 0, 32 points.
Ghent: P1, 30 points.
Club Brugge: P1, 28 points.
Standard: P1, 28 points.
Lokere: P0, 25 points.