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Lierse narrowly-win first game of relegation playoffs

Karim Hafez
Lierse earned a 1-0 away victory over Eupen in the first round of the relegation playoffs of the Jupiler Pro League in Belgium to jointly-top the group.

Lierse, Eupen, OH Leuven, and Lommel United are the four teams in the group. After all the fixtures are over, only the team in first place will remain in the Pro League, while the remaining three teams will be relegated.

Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Helal started the game, while his fellow Egyptian forward, Ahmed Hassan Elgenawy, started on the bench. On the other hand, Ahmed Sayed Zizo was suspended and didn’t make it into the squad list. Defender Karim Hafez was also excluded from the squad.

Eupen had a perfect start to the game: keeping the ball, pressing high, and creating chances early in the game. The first chance of the game came in the 7th minute after Eupen’s Florian Taulemesse headed the ball toward goal but the crossbar denied him. It took the visitors 12 minutes to get into game, threatening Eupen’s goal through Diomande’s shot. A few chances from Lierse followed, but none were clear scoring chances. The home side was clearly on top in the first-half, almost breaking the deadlock again in the 30th minute, but Taulemesse failed to put the ball into the net. The score was 0-0 at half-time.

Lierse turned the tables on Eupen and was able to score just two minutes after restart. Belgian midfielder Anas Tahiri received a high ball at his feet and planted the ball into the top corner. Following the goal, Eupen pushed forward with numbers, while Lierse held their grounds. The Lierse players put everything on the line to avoid conceding, and were successful in doing so despite Eupen’s chances.

In the other game of the first round, OH Leuven beat Lommel United through a goal that came from a penalty in the 78th minute. Lierse and OH Leuven are both tied on points (3) and goal difference (+1).

Next up, Lierse host Lommel United on Sunday, May 10.

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