Temperatures in Belgium on Saturday night were the second highest ever recorded and it showed. As in many countries, all games were stopped half way through the two halves for a drinks break. It was tough for all clubs but even tougher for those teams that found themselves playing with 10 men for lengthy periods of the match.
That was the case for two clubs carrying the flag for Wallonia: Charleroi and Mons. Charleroi played for 53 minutes with 10 men against Standard Liege and they couldn’t hold it together – losing 6-2 at home. Meanwhile, Mons played for 33 minutes against with reduced numbers at Anderlecht and despite a plucky performance, lost 2-1.
The “Walloon derby” – the first time Standard have played at Charleroi for 18 months – was forecast to be a hot affair and so it turned out. The stars of the show for Standard were Venezuelan winger Luis Seijas (a goal and three assists) and 19 year-old Nigerian Imoh Ezekiel. Everything that Seijas touched turned to goals and the young Ezekiel reminded this observer of a young Michael Owen: fearless, fast and with a great eye for goal. The result will have been a real boost for Standard’s new coach Ron Jans and Charleroi should not be too dispirited given the conditions and the way the game played out.
It’s often said that big teams get the rub of the green and so it seemed at the weekend with Mons being unlucky to have Aloys Nong given offside incorrectly on two occasions. Mons coach Enzo Scifo was not too happy with the referee but he did get the Anderlecht crowd chanting his name in memory of times gone by. Anderlecht were not on the top of their game and were probably thinking about their Champions League date in Cyprus on Wednesday. Sacha Iakovenko again came on as a substitute and is a man on a mission after the wasted years under Ariel Jacobs.
Georges Leekens made a few changes at Club Brugge and left Meme Tchite on the bench even though Joseph Akpala was otherwise engaged arranging a transfer to Werder Bremen. In the end the home side ran out 3-1 winners vs. Beerschot but it was hard not to feel sorry for the visitors as Jonathan Blondel clearly fouled Hernan Losada before the Belgian scored the second goal.
Zulte Waregem continued on their winning ways with a 2-0 victory over a poor Kortrijk. Franck Berrier was heavily involved in both goals and he must be wondering where it all went wrong in his time at Standard. Lokeren took the three points against hitherto undefeated KV Mechelen. KV had the best of the game until 19 year-old South African Ayanda Patosi was introduced at the break; his crosses were rather Beckhamesque and he is certainly one to watch.
Lierse twice hit the post against Racing Genk but the ex-champions hung on to their undefeated record; one win and four draws. As for Waasland-Beveren, they had several chances that went begging when Gent were the visitors. Trond Sollied’s men then showed some efficiency at last by breaking away with goals from Hans Van der Bruggen and Christian Bruls.
The final game was a cracker with Cercle Brugge twice taking the lead at Leuven only to lose 3-2 at the death. Bob Peeters is extremely unhappy at the agents who are trying to prise away his two main strikers: Rudy and Igor Vetokele. One or both may leave soon and one has to feel sympathy for Peeters who worked wonders last season. Rudy got a goal here and Vetokele was brought down for the penalty (converted by Oleg Iachtchouk); it wasn’t enough though as Leuven kept going and Karel Geraerts nicked the game in the 82nd minutes. Thomas Azevedo was again instrumental after coming off the bench.
Performance of the week: Lokeren
Player of the week: Luis Seijas
Honourable mention: Imoh Ezekiel.
Charleroi 2 Standard 6; Waasland Beveren 0 Gent 2; Leuven 3 Cercle Brugge 2; Anderlecht 2 Mons 1; Zulte Waregem 2 Kortrijk 0; Club Brugge 3 Beerschot 1; Lokeren 2 KV Mechelen 1; Lierse1; Racing Genk 1.
Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Zulte Waregem (all 10 points); Standard, Lokeren, Gent (all 7 points).
4 goals – Lior Rafaelov (Club Brugge), Franck Berrier (Zulte Waregem), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugge), Ibou (Leuven).
3 goals – Christian Benteke (Genk), Benjamin De Ceulaer (Lokeren), Dieumerci Mbokani (Anderlecht), Steven De Petter (KV Mechelen), Mustapha Jarju (Mons).