Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Belgium: Anderlecht lead the way going into play-offs

Posted in European Football by peterbein on March 21, 2010
RSC Anderlecht club badge

RSC Anderlecht are hoping to win their 30th domestic championship in the new Belgian League play-offs

The Belgian Jupiler League regular season ended today with record champions RSC Anderlecht comfortably leading the table going into the newly-introduced play-off series. With each team in the league having played 28 games in the first stage (slimmed down from 30 games due to the expulsion of Excelsior Mouscron from the league) the top six teams will go through to a new championship group with their points total from the regular season halved. There will also be play-offs to determine places for the UEFA Europa League and to determine matters regarding relegation and promotion.

Anderlecht had confirmed top spot a few weeks ago, such has been their dominance in the Jupiler League this season. On the final matchday before the play-offs Les Mauves prepared for the business end of the season with a 4-0 away win at KSC Lokeren thanks to goals from Romelu Lukaku, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Roland Juhász and Mbark Boussoufa. Anderlecht finished a full twelve points ahead of nearest challengers and main rivals Club Brugge who also had a convincing last day win with a 4-1 victory away at Germinal Beerschot with the Flanders outfit grateful to strikes from Mohamed Dahmane, Ivan Perisic, Dorge Kouemaha and Joseph Akpala. KAA Gent finished in third spot with a 2-0 away win at Standard Liège who, having won the championship in the last two years, have no chance of making it three titles in a row as they failed to qualify for the top six. The other three championship play-off qualifiers are KV Kortrijk (who drew 1-1 with Racing Genk this weekend), St Truiden (who lost 3-1 away at Cercle Brugge) and SV Zulte-Waregem who, despite losing 2-1 at KV Mechelen, held on to sixth place due to Standard Liège’s defeat. The top six finished thus:

1. Anderlecht 28 games/69 points

2. Club Brugge 28/57pts

3. KAA Gent 28/49pts

4. KV Kortrijk 28/45pts

5. St Truiden 28/42pts

6. Zulte-Waregem 28/41pts

The teams that finished from seventh to fourteenth in the regular season table will play-off for a chance to win a UEFA Europa League spot next season. The eight teams are split into two groups of four and will play each other in a round-robin format but, unlike the championship play-off teams, all clubs will start the post-season campaign on zero points each. The group winners will meet in a two-legged match to determine who will face off against the fourth team from the championship play-off in a “Test Match”. The winners of the Test Match will qualify, along with the Belgian Cup winners, for a UEFA Europa League spot in 2010-11. Should the Belgian Cup winner occupy a place in the top four of the championship group (KAA Gent are the only team in the championship group in the semi-finals of the current competition) then the fifth place team will play in the Test Match. The two groups in these play-offs will be:

GROUP A: KV Mechelen (7th), Cercle Brugge (9th), KVC Westerlo (12th), KSC Lokeren (14th)

GROUP B: Standard Liège (8th), Germinal Beerschot (10th), Racing Genk (11th), Charleroi (13th)

In matters affecting relegation Excelsior Mouscron have already been forcibly demoted to the Belgian Third Division due to financial problems and their results from the regular season have been rendered void. Roeselare, who drew 0-0 at home to Westerlo in their final regular season game, finished in 15th place and now take part in promotion/relegation play-offs with the teams who finish 2nd-5th in the Belgian Second Division, the identities of those teams will be revealed in early May when the matches in that division are completed.

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