The East Flemish derby was the first match of the second round of play in the Play-off I competition with the top 6 teams of the competition. The draw means that both Lokeren and Ghent are still waiting for their first victory in Play-off I.
In a dull first half, neither team had good opportunities to score, but AA Gent upped the pressure just before half time and kept the momentum after the break. However, the opening goal came as a complete surprise at the other side. Nill De Pauw was not attacked and put the hosts ahead, 1-0 for Lokeren.
AA Gent coach Francky Dury brought winger Yassine El Ghanassy into play to compensate for the lack of creativity in his team, with also striker Zlatan Ljubijankic (injured) and winger Yaya Soumahoro (suspended) missing. AA Gent continued their search for a goal and were rewarded 10 minutes from time when Senegalese striker Elimane Coulibaly headed home the equalizer (photo).
AA Gent were kept to a draw and see their third place threatened by both Standard and Club Brugge. It's another disappointment for the Buffaloes, who were kept to a draw by FC Bruges last Sunday and who saw their way to the Cup Final barred by Standard on Wednesday.
Sunday sees two major clashes: Standard receive leaders Racing Genk, and the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges is the scene of the classic between FC Bruges and Anderlecht. Anderlecht will try to recover from the heavy blow they suffered last week, when they lost their first place to Genk after an embarrassing home defeat to Standard.
Standings (matches played and points):
- Racing Genk 1 - 35 points
- Anderlecht 1 - 33
- AA Gent 2 - 31
- Standard 1 - 28
- FC Bruges 1 - 28
- Lokeren 2 - 26
Each team started with half of the points collected during the first part of the competition. Play-off I includes 10 rounds of play and will decide on the league title and European football for next season.