Standard de Liège keep title hopes alive

In football, Standard beat FC Bruges 1-0 to reduce the gap with play-off leaders KRC Genk to 3 points. FC Bruges will have to forget the top-3 and battle for 4th place with AA Gent. The East Flemings had another disappointment against Sporting Lokeren.

Only a win would keep Standard's title hopes alive and the players had understood the message. In a strong opening half hour, the Walloon team dubbed the Reds (Rouches) put FC Bruges with their backs against the wall.

However, this did not result in a goal. It was at a moment when the pressure was lowering, that Standard midfielder and Belgian international Axel Witsel scored with a thundering shot: 1-0 (photo on top).

The visitors played a better second half and even had a couple of chances to equalise, but the score remained 1-0. The result means that, with 3 rounds of play to go, Standard are guaranteed a place in Europe next season.

FC Bruges will have to battle it out with AA Gent for 4th place. The team taking fourth place, will face the winner of the play-off II competition for the final European ticket. The final in play-off II will see a confrontation between Cercle Brugge and Cup finalists Westerlo. Westerlo thrashed Zulte Waregem 7-1.

Also in play-off I, AA Gent were confronted with another big disappointment. The East Flemings had their first victory in the play-offs well within reach, leading 2-1 after 2 goals by Israeli forward Shlomi Arbitman, but Lokeren equalised in extra time, 2-2. Both teams are still looking for their first triumph in play-off I, which has already seen 7 days of play.

Standings after 7 days of play:

  1. Racing Genk  47 points
  2. Standard         44
  3. Anderlecht      41
  4. FC Bruges     34
  5. AA Gent          33
  6. Lokeren         28

Next day of play (3 to go): FC Bruges-RC Genk, Anderlecht-AA Gent, Lokeren-Standard