Defour saves Standard from embarrassment

Former champions Standard de Liège have taken a poor start in the Belgian football league. In the opening match of the Belgian season, they were kept to a draw by Zulte Waregem. Midfielder Steven Defour saved his club with a last-gasp effort.

Standard celebrated back-to-back league titles in 2008 and 2009, but had a disappointing run in the domestic league last season. Standard had an excellent European campaign, but failed to qualify for European football in the home competition.

On top of that, Standard lost three top players in attack: Milan Jovanovic (Liverpool), Dieumerci Mbokani (AS Monaco) and Igor De Camargo (Borussia Mönchengladbach).

The promising midfielders Steven Defour and Axel Witsel stayed on. Zulte Waregem lost head coach Francky Dury (who had been at the helm of the club for 16 years) to AA Gent and welcomed Bart De Roover as the new coach.

Zulte Waregem had the best start in Liège and scored 1-0 through striker Khaleem Hyland on 31 minutes. Standard only gained control of the match in the final half hour, after Zulte Waregem had defender Stijn Meert sent off with a controversial second yellow card (small photo).

It was Belgian international Steven Defour (photo on top) who saved Standard from an embarrassing defeat before a home crowd, with a low shot after 87 minutes.