Surprises galore from the very start

The start of the Belgian football competition, last weekend, had quite some surprises, with 3 of the traditional 'big 5' failing to win their match. Champions AA Gent played a poor match and were held to a draw by Westerlo, while Club Brugge were even downed by newcomers Sint-Truiden. Standard de Liège were surprised by KV Kortrijk.

AA Gent only managed a 1-all draw at modest Westerlo, in the Antwerp Kempen area. Ghent missed the determination to get a grip on the game and also showed a lack of efficiency in attack. AA Gent coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck (top photo) was unusually tough for his players after the match. "It's a long time since I was so disappointed", he said.

He lashed out at young, talented striker Benito Raman, who had told reporters before the season he would aim for 26 goals as it was dream to become the league's top scorer: "If he wants to get a tally of 26, he will have to be less selfish. Otherwise he will not score 5 goals, because he will simply not play."

No away wins!

The surprise in Westerlo came after two other surprises. Ambitious Club Brugge lost 2-1 at newly-promoted Sint-Truiden, while Standard were downed 2-1 by KV Kortrijk.

The other teams belonging to the 'big 5' did win their opening game. Revamped KRC Genk (new coach, several new players and a newly-introduced fighting spirit campaign to win back the fans) beat newcomers OH Leuven 3-1, while Anderlecht squeezed past modest Waasland-Beveren with a bit of luck, as promising midfielder Youri Tielemans made it 3-2 for Anderlecht in added time (photo below).

None of the away teams managed a win. There was just one team clinching a draw on 'foreign territory', AA Gent. The 7 other matches all saw home wins.

Club Brugge, who are again poised to become the new champions, are playing Panathinaikos in Greece on Tuesday, a match in the Champions' League preliminaries.