Playoffs 1: Gent under pressure
If this was a horse race, Anderlecht would be the favourite – having won its last three races – who is moving through the pack and is nicely positioned with a few furlongs to go. In fact, as this is Belgium, the race has already been completed over 3 ½ miles, at a very slow pace, and is now being re-run over five furlongs – just for the hell of it.But let’s get back to football. The leaders Gent slipped up on Friday night when they could only draw with Charleroi at the Ghelamco Arena. Charleroi were, as usual, enterprising but it’s possible that the pressure of being leaders weighed heavily on the Gent team’s shoulders.
Anderlecht beat Club Brugge in an entertaining game where the man of the match was generally thought to be Davy Roef, who came in for Anderlecht’s suspended keeper Silvio Proto.
Standard easily beat Kortrijk, a team that has problems on and off the pitch. However, even reaching the playoffs has been an excellent achievement by Kortrijk coach Yves Vanderhaeghe.
Club by Club
Gent: Officially, they always said they were aiming for third place at best. That could be where they finish as home draws with Club Brugge and Charleroi have slowed down Hein Vanhaezebrouck’s men. Gent are relatively inexperienced and they badly missed the suspended Laurent Depoitre at the weekend.
Anderlecht: With two wins in succession and the advantage of having three of the last four games at home, Anderlecht look nicely placed to gain their fourth successive title. If Steven Defour can stay fit, they should do the job. Besnik Hasi’s experience last season of winning the title during the playoffs will be invaluable
Club Brugge: Michel Preud’homme’s men played their 60th game at the weekend. Although they played well at Anderlecht, they didn’t get the breaks. Tiredness could be a factor in the last three games and they also need Anderlecht to slip up somewhere.
Standard: Since Jose Riga threatened (or promised) to resign, Standard have won two out of two – scoring four against a sad-looking Kortrijk at the weekend. The team is now playing well but there’s an air of ‘too little, too late’.Charleroi:
Les Carolos are still in with a chance of a European qualification – it’s complicated – and are playing much better than their recent record (one point from three games) shows.
Kortrijk: It’s all going Pete Tong at Kortrijk. Yves Vanderhaeghe is on his way to Oostende, striker Teddy Chevalier fancies a move to Standard and the club ownership is changing. They have over-achieved but it looks like 6th place is the best they’ll manage.
Next weekend: Anderlecht-Standard; Club Brugge-Gent; Charleroi-Kortrijk.
Last results: Standard 4 Kortrijk 0; Gent 1 Charleroi 1; Anderlecht 3 Club Brugge 1.
Standings: Gent 43, Anderlecht 41, Club Brugge 41, Standard 36, Charleroi 33, Kortrijk 33.
Player of the weekend: Davy Roef (Anderlecht)
In Group A, KV Mechelen have emerged as winners, just edging out Racing Genk. In Group B, Lokeren cantered home. KV Mechelen will now meet Lokeren over two legs with the winner playing the team finishing fourth (or fifth in certain circumstances) in the Playoffs 1, for a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds.
Mitrovic (Anderlecht) 18; Emond (Beveren) 14; Santini (Kortrijk) 14, Mujangi Bia (Standard) 14.
Patosi (Lokeren), 13; Chevalier (Kortrijk), 12; Refaelov (Club Brugge) 11;