Decision day in the Belgian First Division

It was the final day of play before the Play-offs in Belgian football’s First Division and there was still plenty to be decided. Who would finish in the top 6 and play another 10 games among the crème de la crème of Belgian football in Play-off I? And who would be relegated? Would it be KAS Eupen or KV Mechelen?

There were still three teams in the running for the final Play-off I place: Standard de Liège, KV Kortrijk and Royal Football Club Antwerp. In the end it was Standard that made it.

In a repeat of a cup tie earlier this season in which they came back from behind to beat KV Oostende in Ostend, Standard made good a two goal deficit to win the match by 3 goals to 2.

KV Kortrijk too won their game at home against Sporting Charleroi 2-0. However, this wasn’t enough and KV Kortrijk finish 7th with 42 points.

Standard are 6th with 44 points. Royal Football Club Antwerp were unable to take any points from their game against Sporting Anderlecht despite Anderlecht having gone down to 9 men at one stage.

The ended 2-1 to Anderlecht. RFCA Antwerp finish 8th with 41 points. Sporting Anderlecht are 2nd with 55 points.

Play-off I

Club Brugge (67 points), Sporting Anderlecht (55 points), and Sporting Charleroi 51 points, AA Gent (50 points), Racing Genk (44 points) and Standard de Liège (44 points) will all compete in Play-off I.

Their points tally will be halved before they play each other team that has qualified home and away. The winner of Play-off is League Champion and qualifies automatically for the UEFA Champions League.

The second-placed team enters the second qualifying round for the Champions’ League. The third-placed team enters the final qualifying round for the Europa League. The fourth-placed team plays the winner of Play-off II for a place in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa league.

Play-off II

The following teams will compete in Play-off II. KV Kortrijk, RFC Antwerp, Zulte Waregem, Sint-Truiden, KV Oostende, Waasland-Beveren, Sporting Lokeren, Excel Mouscron and KAS Eupen from the First Division and Beerschot-Wilrijk, OH Leuven and Lierse SK from the Second Division. Play-off II is played in two groups.

The winner of Group A plays the winner of Group B for the chance to take on the team that finished 4th in Play-off I for a place in the qualifying stage of the UEFA Europa League.

KAS Eupen: the great escape

To say that the relegation battle has been tense is an understatement. KAS Eupen and KV Mechelen started and end the afternoon equal on points.

However, Eupen’s superior goal difference (-17 rather than – 18) means that they rather than Malinwa remain in the top flight.

KV Mechelen took a two-goal lead in their game against Waasland-Beveren with goals early in the second half.

Meanwhile, it was still 0-0 in KAS Eupen-Excel Mouscron. The Pandas seemed doomed. However, an incredible turn of events saw Eupen score 4 times in 16 minutes (3 from Toyokawa and 1 from Garcia) to win 4-0. The afternoon ended with joy in Eupen and tears in Mechelen.