An afternoon where everything works for an ultra-efficient home team and where the visitors realize after half an hour that there is nothing left to gain. That was Antwerp – Standard in a nutshell. The national champion had his sheep on dry land after one half, while the Rouches were led like lambs to the slaughter. The 4-0 halftime score became another tennis score at the Bosuil: 6-0!
Let’s go back to the first confrontation between Antwerp and Standard last season. After fifteen minutes the 3-0 final score was already on the scoreboard in Liège. Things didn’t go that fast this time, even though the match was already in a decisive fold early on.
Janssen chases away penalty ghost
In Porto – where Carl Hoefkens scored 0-4 with Club Brugge last year – Mark van Bommel did not bring Butez (could become a father at any moment), Alderweireld (slight hindrance) and Janssen (some rest) at the kick-off. In the last match before the international break, the Dutch coach threw his experienced trio onto the field again and it quickly paid off. The match was less than fifteen minutes away and Vincent Janssen had already scored his seventh and eighth competition goals against the ropes. First he placed a deviated cross from Balikwisha – via Vanheusden’s leg – nicely into the corner. Afterwards he took over an eleven meter. Lardot pointed to the spot after Vanheusden was hit by a shot from, again, Balikwisha.
It was visibly good for the ex-international of Oranje, because his last three eleven meters did not result in a goal: in the play-offs against Genk and two this season in the 0-0 at home against RWDM. The series of three missed penalties also comes to an end for Antwerp itself.
And Standard, which could never make a fist, suffered the law of the strongest, collided with a hyper-efficient RAFC and also had a share of bad luck. Ngoy had been ready for minutes to relieve the injured Bokadi, but just then Antwerp took full advantage of the numerical majority. Muja pushed through on the right, crossed blindly and served Ekkelenkamp. The goal will also have been good for this Dutchman after some lesser matches and his red card in Porto.
Carl Hoefkens may have imagined his first match as a trainer at the Bosuil differently. Bokadi was already injured and Vanheusden also received his fifth yellow card of the season. Due to a much too late and wild intervention on Yusuf, he misses the home match against Genk.
And in the meantime, Muja pushed the knife a little deeper into the Liège wound. The Albanian pushed the 4-0 past Henkinet in a controlled manner on a pass from Balikwisha. What a sad day for Standard’s reserve goalkeeper, who came in for the flu-like Bodart. Four framed shots in the first half, four goals. And whether the number 1 was efficient before half time!
The second half was almost a waste of time. Standard wanted to, but couldn’t. Antwerp was a little too sloppy with the spaces and some nonchalance crept into the team. After more than an hour we were even able to score a goal attempt by the Rouches. Two, actually! Kawabe blasted his free kick into the wall and Dewaele’s retake zoomed wide.
Yet one person still wanted to show his name on the scoreboard for the dominant home team. Ex-Rouche Balikwisha was reprimanded by the visiting fans and seemed to have to make do with ‘only’ an assist and an enforced penalty for a long time, as the 5-0 was also not credited to his name. Well, on Ilenikhena’s. Janssen’s 17-year-old replacement was lucid enough to put Alzate’s poor relief into goal. But just before the whistle blew, Balikwisha succeeded. He slid a pass from substitute Kerk into the net: 6-0!
Antwerp ends a particularly tough period of seven matches in three weeks with a convincing victory. Standard must recover after a 1 out of 9 and, with a very tough program ahead, must start looking down in the rankings with half an eye.