Sizzling Malinwa strikes in last quarter
KV Mechelen are craving for their first ever top-6 ticket since the system of play-offs for the league title was introduced 8 years ago. (the best 6 teams of the regular competition battle it out for the league title and the European places in a round-robin system with 10 days of play, red).
A sell-out crowd of 16,701 in Mechelen saw Tim Matthys make it 3-2 just 5 minutes from time, handing Malinwa the 3 points. It was Anderlecht's first defeat in 14 games in the domestic competition. KV Mechelen need a draw at AA Gent next week in order to grab the coveted top-6 ticket. Newly-arrived Malinwa coach Emilio Ferrera may get a statue if he steers his team all the way till the end.
AA Gent only just survive in Beveren
AA Gent may have ousted Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League, they lost precious points on various occasions in the domestic league, and still have to battle for a place in the top-6.
A win was needed at Waasland-Beveren; things were not looking bright for the Ghent Buffaloes at the break (2-1 behind) but French striker Jérémy Perbet (yet again, photo) and Japanese newcomer Yaya Kubo did it for AA Gent (2-3).
Still, as KV Mechelen also won against Anderlecht, AA Gent will have to move past Mechelen next week in order to qualify for the top-6. Gent also have a European clash in between, facing Genk in the Europa League's last 16 next Thursday.
RC Genk are still alive after whipping leaders Club Brugge
In other action, RC Genk downed leaders Club Brugge (2-1) keeping their slim chances for play-off 1 alive. Charleroi, the other team battling for the top-6, were held to a 1-all draw by KV Kortrijk at home, a major surprise. KV Oostende are now sure of the top-6 after a poor 0-0 at home against Sporting Lokeren.
Zulte Waregem only just managed to avoid a first home defeat of the season against modest Westerlo (2-2). Westerlo are still not saved, as bottom-of-the-table Mouscron downed Standard in a surprise victory (1-0).
Photo below shows the 4 contenders for the last 2 places in the top-6, with just one day of play to go: KV Mechelen, Charleroi, AA Gent and Racing Genk.
Standings (all have played 29 of 30 matches):
1.Club Brugge 58 points 2.Anderlecht (58) 3.Zulte Waregem (51) 4.KV Oostende (49) 5.KV Mechelen (48) 6.Charleroi (48) 7.AA Gent (47) 8.KRC Genk (45) 9.Standard (38) 10.Kortrijk (31) 11.Eupen (30) 12.Lokeren (30) 13.Waasland Beveren (30) 14.Sint-Truiden (29) 15.Westerlo (23) 16.Excelsior Mouscron (21)
Next Sunday: AA Gent-KV Mechelen, Westerlo-RC Genk, Lokeren-Charleroi, Club Brugge-STVV, Anderlecht-Waasland Beveren