On Thursday evening, Antwerp and Genk are also catching up. De Bosuil will once again be prepared for a home game by their team. For Genk, this is perhaps the game in which it can take the step towards play-off I. The gap on the pursuers is three points at the moment. It is the task of Antwerp to stay in the wake of the top three. Which team knows how to account for the three important points here?
Royal Antwerp FC:
Royal Antwerp was for a long time the “eternal second” or so it seemed. But after very strong weeks from Ghent and Charleroi, which is doing great again, Antwerp has dropped somewhat to fourth place in the rankings. After twenty-four games, the counter is at forty-five, which is incredibly strong for Antwerp. Play-off I is almost certain and that goal has already been achieved. European football would have succeeded again. Last day it went to Jan Breydel.
Antwerp had already beaten Club Brugge as the only Belgian team this season, so Laszlo Bölöni returned to his recipe for the first round. The same eleven (with Lamkel Zé) had to do it again this afternoon. Club did not want to be inferior to the tough approach of the visitors and so we got a rough opening phase. Club Brugge was gradually feeling better and there were some chances. Dennis, whether or not offside, wanted to do it too well and Sobol was too timid again to take a high cross on his shoe. A tightly defending Antwerp, however, gave away the best chance. Buta headed miserably, but De Ketelaere hit Hoedt’s heels. Mata delivered a drop off later. Antwerp limited itself to defending. In the front, Mbokani operated on a lonely island and lightweight Miyoshi could not continue. Stock number one put his beans on demolition football too much. With that, they recovered without a hitch, although there was a moment of panic after a casual loss of the ball and a chance for Diatta. Philippe Clement also saw that his team could use a finisher and brought Krmencik a new member for unguided projectile Dennis. The bumpy Czech immediately drilled through the center and then immediately aimed. A firm entry, but then the rudimentary striker fell silent. Antwerp started to play with a little more courage and set its line a few tens of meters higher, but it didn’t last that long. Club Brugge re-imposed their will and should have always taken the lead past Vormer, but the captain decided incomprehensibly after Buta after a wonderful attack. When Bolat hit a swaying free kick from Sobol against the crossbar, home fans were close to despair. The visitors could already smell the tip for which they had come, but in the end it still went wrong. Substitute Schrijvers put Vanaken in front of goal with a smart heel. De Laet seemed to head off the Golden Shoe’s lead on the line, but the assistant on the other side saw the ball over the line. So a controversial goal, but there’s little to be said about the Bruges victory. In the nineties De Laet signed with a hesitant header for the only Antwerp chance. Club Brugge will start again with the win at the right moment. It restores the gap of nine points with Ghent and already puts Antwerp on twelve units.
At Antwerp, there were mainly reactions after the match about whether or not Club had a valid goal. For example, it was looked with strange eyes that the VAR could not make a 100% sure decision and therefore managed to award the goal. And that there is no target line technology? “The clubs did not want to pay that, the ref told me,” said Wesley Hoedt.
After careful consideration, Genk is now in sixth place six games before the end of the season and in play-off I. Something where they were no longer expected immediately. The gap with the chasing group Anderlecht-Zulte-Mechelen is three points so this match against Antwerp can be of vital importance. Will Genk succeed in staying in the top six? Last match day it already made a very important step in this direction.
Genk and Charleroi flew in firmly from the start and served an exciting opening phase in the Luminus Arena. An early goal from Maehle was rejected for offside, Onuachu aimed a good chance at Penneteau. Charleroi played along nicely, but could never really put the new Genk goalie Didillon in trouble. Even before the first fifteen minutes was complete, Racing Genk was awarded a penalty after a hand play by Willems. Uronen, after Samatta’s departure the new penalty taker at Genk, did not get the ball past Penneteau, who also stopped the rebound of Ito. After that pleasant opening quarter, the game collapsed like a pudding. Neither of the teams got another chance together, the goalkeepers watched unemployed. Five minutes before half-time, the crowd that had just begun to wake up was shaken awake by the delightful 1-0 of Hrošovský, who’s Ito referee worked past Penneteau. Charleroi tried to react quickly to the goal, but Fall decided high after a smooth attack. The second half followed a similar course to the first: after a promising start, including a big chance for Onuachu, the party was watering down visibly. Charleroi failed to become dangerous, Genk lacked precision in his attack game. Only at the hour did Charleroi finally get the offensive engine working. Rezaei aimed for the best opportunity in addition to Didillon’s cage, also substitute Nicholson did not get the ball between the posts. Racing Genk played with fire and was pleased that the flare-up of the visitors was short-lived. In the final phase it was a bit of a shock for the home crowd when Fall went down in the sixteen meters, but ref Lardot didn’t want to know about a penalty. Genk held on to 1-0 until the final whistle and was thus allowed to add three important points with a view to Play-off I. After thirteen games without defeat, Charleroi knows what losses are.
Coach Hannes Wolf sees that his team is growing and is ready to hold their position in the top six: “We have shown that we are ready to fight, even without a few strongholds such as Berge and Samatta. In the second half it is a little less than before the break, but Charleroi is a very strong team. I am happy with this victory. Now every player has a responsibility. There will be new leaders in the dressing room. The keeper? He was ready and has a good match played. He has experience. ”