Belgian First Division wrap: Leaders Zulte lose, Lestienne brace for Brugge
By Football News
A second-half penalty from Paul-Jose M'Poku has handed Standard Liege a 1-0 win over Belgian First Division leaders Zulte-Waregem.
M'Poku won and converted the penalty two minutes into the second half at Stade Maurice Dufrasne to take Standard into third position in the Belgian First Division's championship playoffs standings, two points behind Zulte.
Standard almost opened the scoring in the seventh minute in front of their home fans but were denied by a brilliant save from Zulte goalkeeper Sebastien Bruzzese.
French midfielder Frederic Bulot curled a pin-point free-kick to Kanu at the back post and the Brazilian defender powered his header on target only to see Bruzzese tip the ball away where it was cleared by Zulte's defence.
In the 18th minute, Zulte midfielder Bruno Godeau went close with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area and the visitors were left to rue that miss just after half-time.
M'Poku drove into the penalty area from the left wing with Ibrahima Conte chasing him frantically.
Zulte full-back Karel D'Haene moved in front of M'Poku and as the 21-year-old winger tried to duck inside, Conte clipped his legs and he tumbled to the ground, forcing the referee to point to the spot.
M'Poku sent Bruzzese the wrong way and the home side led.
In the 66th minute, the visitors went closest to an equaliser when a right-wing cross found Thorgan Hazard at the back post but the younger brother of Chelsea's Eden smashed his strike just wide.
Sunday's win took Standard to 38 points, behind Zulte (40 points) and Anderlecht (39), while the Liege-based side stayed ahead of Club Brugge (37) with four rounds remaining this season.
Brugge had earlier knocked off Anderlecht 2-1 thanks to a double from winger Maxime Lestienne.
The pint-sized 20-year-old gave Brugge the lead in the 15th minute when he drifted in from the left to slot the ball home after a chipped pass from Ryan Donk.
And Lestienne wrapped up his brace just after the hour mark with a brilliant strike, cutting in from the right-hand touchline and curling his shot inside the far post.
Massimo Bruno handed Anderlecht a lifeline with a neat header from Dieumerci Mbokani's cross but the visitors were unable to notch an equaliser.