Defending champions off to a good start

In the first round of play in Belgian football, KRC Genk moved past Beerschot. Standard and AA Gent lost precious points from the very start. Standard failed to move past newcomers Mons, while AA Gent were confronted with a home defeat against modest Cercle Brugge.

KRC Genk - Beerschot AC (3-1): 3 nice goals

The Limburgers did not miss their start to the new season and scored three times in the first half through midfielder Daniel Tözser (with a deflected shot), striker Elyaniv Barda (with a header, photo) and midfielder David Hubert (with a thundering shot from long range).

The match was decided at the break and Genk took it easy in the second half, allowing Beerschot to come back in the match. For Genk, it was a good rehearsal for the Champions League return leg against Partizan Belgrade this week. Genk is defending a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Belgrade.

Mons - Standard (1-1): Van Damme almost the hero

Standard de Liège, runners-up in the previous competition, were held to a draw by newcomers Mons in the Walloon derby between the only two Walloon teams in the top flight. Ibou gave Mons a surprise lead just before the break, with Belgian international Jelle Van Damme (photo) equalising in the second half.

Another Van Damme effort almost meant the winning-goal in the dying minutes of the game, but defender Nicolas Timmermans saved the day for Mons clearing the ball just before the line with a spectacular tackle.

AA Gent - Cercle Brugge (0-1): penalty or no penalty?

AA Gent and new coach Trond Sollied of Norway suffered a huge disappointment in their first home match of the season. The Buffaloes had plenty of chances to decide the game in the first half, but hit the post twice and also found the bar on their way. Gent also claimed a penalty for a foul on Senegalese striker Elimane Coulibaly.

Cercle sent a first warning after the break when it hit the post twice and eventually took a surprise victory with a highly contested penalty. Substitute Oleg Iachtchouk keept cool and scored the winning goal.

KV Kortrijk - Lierse (1-1): equally balanced

In an equally balanced match, Miloslav Maric put the visitors ahead. After the break, Kortrijk striker Brecht Capon equalised with a penalty. KVK were reduced to ten men just after the break when striker Ernest Nfor was sent off.

KV Mechelen - STVV (2-1): "at last" for Malinwa

KV Mechelen finally managed to beat the Canaries of Sint-Truiden (Limburg province) before their home crowd. The last home victory against Sint-Truiden was almost 12 years ago, on 2 October 1999.

Julien Gorius was the hero of the evening as he scored the winning goal 6 minutes from time. Midfielder Gorius was in talks with Standard and AA Gent, but "Malinwa" as the home team are dubbed, could convince him to stay on and had his contract extended. The financial effort was worth it, it turns out.

Lokeren - Zulte Waregem (0-0): keep the tradition

The crowd of 6,000 did not see anything spectacular at Daknam in Lokeren (East Flanders). Lokeren, a contender for a spot in the top 6, had the better chances, but missed determination in front the goal. It was the third time in four years that Lokeren and Zulte Waregem met in their opening match. Each time, the game ended in a draw and this tradition was kept.

In the last game of the opening round, FC Bruges receive Westerlo on Sunday evening.