It has hardly been a battle for the European ticket in the Europe play-offs. Gent and Standard were the biggest contenders beforehand. While Ghent itself has not even completed its fourth match in the play-offs, it is almost certain of European football. Standard went under in Westerlo.
Westerlo only needed a few minutes to put the first nice combination of the match on the mat. De Cuyper finely aimed the 1-0 in the bottom right corner after Chadli’s pass. Both teams wanted to play football, hence a balanced possession in the first half. Westerlo was only much more dangerous than the visitors.
Bodart’s parade on Nene’s header prevented an early doubling of the score. And standard? Well, Gillekens – under the bar at the Kemphanen instead of Bolat – had to intervene twice. First after Emond came into possession with a lucky shot and also on a shot by Ohio. So much for the threat from the Rouches.
They also had defensive problems, because in the third quarter every switch by the home team was dangerous. Van Eenoo had plenty of space and offered Nene the 2-0 on a saucer. The finish could also be seen. Matsuo and Van Eenoo would find Bodart on their way with their shots.
The first half also had two disallowed goals to offer. First one from Chadli, who had won the ball himself, but got it back through a teammate who was offside. To see the latter, a VAR intervention was needed. When Nene finished clean again, the flag immediately went up.
In the second half, Standard emphatically gave away less space, although there were still opportunities. Bodart twice kept Van den Keybus from a goal. Nene once again presented himself as a flawless finisher in the final phase: this time the 3-0 did count. Westerlo will be in the position in the play-offs next to Standard, Ghent will enter Europe if it takes a point against Cercle.