Zulte Waregem and Anderlecht are alive and well

By | April 7, 2014

Cheikhou Kouyatéwas in commanding form in Anderlecht's midfield (copyright John Chapman)

Cheikhou Kouyaté was in commanding form in Anderlecht’s midfield (copyright John Chapman)

A week is a long time in the JPL Playoffs. Last week, the title was seen in the media as a two-horse race between Standard Liege and Club Brugge. This weekend both were beaten and now just five points cover the first four teams.

On Friday, Zulte Waregem proved that they are almost unbeatable at home. Leaders Standard Liege hardly got a kick as Sven Kums and Thorgan Hazard ran the show. The final result was 2-0 and the Essevee must be looking forward to welcoming Club Brugge next weekend.

Francky Dury's Zulte Waregem - strong at home

Francky Dury’s Zulte Waregem – strong at home

On Sunday, it was the turn of Anderlecht to show some style. With Cheikhou Kouyaté and 16 year-old Youri Tielemans in midfield, the champions destroyed Preud’homme’s men in the first half and they never looked like recovering. After the game, Besnik Hasi said he was close to finding his best eleven and it looks like Tielemans could be Anderlecht’s playmaker for some time. The outstanding issue for Anderlecht is that they need to show they can win away from the Constant Vanden Stock stadium.

In-between, Lokeren and Genk played out a fairly meaningless 1-1 draw. With Lokeren already qualified for Europe and with Genk struggling on all fronts – only 250 fans travelled – it looks like only the top four teams will have a say in the title.

Standings: Standard 37, Club Brugge 35, Zulte Waregem 33, Anderlecht 32, Lokeren 27, Genk 24.

Playoffs 2

Timmy Simons (37) was up against Your Tielemans (16).

Timmy Simons (37) was up against Your Tielemans (16).

In Group ‘A’, the goals dried up completely. After their victories last weekend, Oostende and Waasland-Beveren played out a goalless draw. In the other game, Gent lost again and it will be interesting to see how many supporters will be at the new stadium when Beveren visit next weekend. Lierse’s 1-0 win at Gent puts them back in the picture.

In Group ‘B’, Charleroi and Kortrijk also drew (1-1) and Vercauteren’s KV Mechelen managed a win (0-1) at Cercle Brugge who seem to be in as much trouble as Gent (but without the same ambition).

Playoffs 3

Mons are basically dead. If they don’t win at Leuven next weekend they will be relegated and the five-match contest will end prematurely. Leuven will then need to get ready for division 2 playoffs.

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