Yentl Van Genechten looked set to be the hero for Eupen in their opening game against Westerlo as he scored twice to give new head coach Florian Kohfeldt a 2-0 lead over Westerlo. The defender looked bemused when he tucked home his second, taking advantage of Sinan Bolat being on the floor after Brandon Baiye’s shot had struck the post.
With new signing Victor Pálsson straight into the starting line-up just a day after signing a three year contract, Eupen will have been delighted that he and the rest of the defence were able to keep Westerlo at bay for most of the game. Kohfeldt also made a change in goal, with regular goalkeeper from last season Lennart Moser replaced by Ghanaian international Abdul Manaf Nurudeen.
For Westerlo, star signing Matija Frigan began on the bench, with Erdon Dacia and Yusuke Matsuo starting upfront together. The side lacked height upfront and balls into the box were relatively easy for a tall Eupen defence to deal with. However, Eupen were fortunate on two occasions when Nurudeen came for a cross and was caught in no mans land. The keeper’s shaky performance would prove to be the sides downfall however.
Westerlo were awarded a penalty when the keeper’s attempt to come for the ball in the box saw him take out midfielder Mattias Fixelles. His midfield partner Nicolas Madsen stepped up to take the spot kick, with regular taker from last season Maxim De Cuyper back at Club Brugge. The Dane’s spot kick was perfectly in the corner, out of the reach of Nurudeen who had guessed correctly.
The keeper then made the biggest mistake of the game, pushing a shot that was going wide back into open play. Another new signing for Westerlo, Lucas Stassin, was on hand to grab his first goal for the club and level things up.
Kohfeldt will have been left extremely frustrated as his side threw the game away. One of the favourites to go down, they had weathered Westerlo’s pressure for much of the game before the mistakes of their goalkeeper cost them.