Gift Orban was once again amongst the goals as Gent beat Standard Liege 2-1 on Saturday night. The striker finished off a wonderful pass from strike partner Hugo Cuypers to open the scoring. Cuypers, the league’s top scorer, now has three assists in the play-offs, just one less than he managed throughout the regular season.
Steven Alzate got Standard back in the game in the second half from a set piece, but moments later a mistake from Arnaud Bodart made a mistake in the Standard goal, the ball fell to Cuypers on the edge of the box who had a simple finish to grab his 21st league goal of the season. That means Cuypers now has 28 goals in 52 games for Gent since joining last summer.
Orban almost scored a spectacular second goal direct from kick-off, trying to catch Bodart out.
There was also a moment of controversy in the second half when it appeared Orban had made it 2-1 to Gent. Emond went down in the Gent box appealing for a penalty, but referee Jan Boterberg waved away the protests. Gent countered and scored, only for Boterberg to have inexplicably blown the whistle during the attack for no apparent reason. It was a strange decision from the referee, which caused much confusion amongst all players as VAR decided that Emond was not fouled and no penalty was to be awarded. Rather than leave it up to VAR, Boterberg had cost Gent a second goal that could have been crucial.
It got worse for Standard with six minutes to go when Brighton loanee Alzate was given a second yellow card. The midfielder has been a key part of the Standard squad this year and a suspension will certainly hurt the side.
This win means Gent take full control of play-off two and the chance of Conference League qualification via the qualification rounds. They face Cercle Brugge back to back in their next two games. Two wins here will almost guarantee they will finish top of the four team group.