Antwerp players hold a celebration after the match.

Antwerp snatch 3rd place from Anderlecht

Antwerp FC have beaten Anderlecht 1-0 to take third place in the top flight on the final day of the Champions' Play-offs. Antwerp will play in the Europa League qualifiers next season, while Anderlecht have to be content with a ticket for the Conference League preliminaries. 

The Belgian football season has come to a close. Just one question had to be answered: who would take third place? Antwerp had to win as they were one point behind Anderlecht, for whom a draw would do to hold on to third place. 

But things went wrong for the Brussels club early in the match when defender Matt Miazga was sent off. He was shown the red card after trying to stop Antwerp striker Didier Lamkel Zé who had escaped towards the goal. Antwerp gained ground and scored in the second half with a Lamkel Zé header. 

Which five clubs play in Europe?

In the other game, newly-crowned champions Club Brugge lost their gala match against runners-up Racing Genk 1-2 in Bruges. The game had several hundred fans watching in the stands as part of a corona test event. So which clubs will play in Europe next season? 

  • Club Brugge (group phase ticket) and RC Genk (qualifiers) will play in the Champions League next season
  • Antwerp will play the Europa League qualifiers. Belgium's oldest club, dubbed 'The Great Old' will enter the last qualifying round. If they lose, they are automatically granted a ticket to the Conference League, UEFA's third cup competition. 
  • Anderlecht and Europe Play-off winners AA Gent will get a taste of the newly created Conference League, a fate which is also awaiting clubs like Tottenham and the Scottish clubs Hibernian and Aberdeen. Every club has to play qualifiers, but Tottenham will have to survive just one hurdle compared to two for Anderlecht and three for AA Gent or Aberdeen to make it through to the group stage. 

Earlier, Waasland-Beveren and Mouscron had been relegated from the top flight. Their place will be taken by Seraing and the Brussels club Union next season. 

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