Preview: Standard Liege vs. Gent – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Belgian Pro League clash between Standard Liege and Gent, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aiming to put an end to their concerning winless run following the conclusion of the regular season, Standard Liege will welcome Europe-chasing Gent to Stade Maurice Dufrasne on Saturday night for a Belgian Pro League clash.

Les Rouches will be looking to bounce back following a disappointing defeat at Leuven, who also defeated De Buffalos in their most recent league fixture.

Match preview

Since the convincing 4-0 victory over second-tier bound Eupen on the final day of the regular season, Standard Liege have endured a seven-game winless spell in the Pro League – a run which has yielded just five points for a side who were aiming to compete for a European berth this term.

Due to the cancellation of their home clash with Westerlo on May 10, Les Rouches have been afforded nearly a fortnight to dwell on their 3-1 away defeat to Leuven on May 10, when goals from Youssef Maziz, Nachon Nsingi and Jon Thorsteinsson cancelled out an opener by Liege’s Kelvin Yeboah.

Heading into their final two matches of the Pro League campaign, Ivan Leko‘s troops are currently occupying 10th position in the overall standings, but with 11th-placed Westerlo just four points behind, there is a chance that Standard Liege slump to the bottom of section before the season’s end.

Having found game time hard to come by at Bundesliga strugglers Hertha Berlin during the 2022-23 campaign, Wilfried Kanga‘s loan spell to Les Rouches this season has reignited his faltering career, with the 26-year-old bagging an impressive tally of 12 goals in 34 Pro League appearances.

Following a four-game winning run in the Pro League which cemented their spot at the top of the section, Gent suffered only their second defeat in their last 11 league matches on May 12, when Leuven visited Planet Group Arena and escaped with a well-earned maximum.

Despite having the lion’s share of possession and creating the most clear-cut chances, De Buffalos were unable to breach the net of Leuven goalkeeper Maxence Prevot, and the visitors were relatively comfortable holding onto their lead established by a sixth-minute strike from centre-back Franco Russo.

Although last weekend’s defeat on home soil was disappointing, Hein Vanhaezebrouck‘s men still find themselves in a brilliant position heading into the final two matches of the section, with a place in the Conference League playoff against fourth place from the Champions’ group already secured.

Rediscovering his sensational form of the 2021-22 campaign, attacker Tarik Tissoudali has made the net ripple on 15 occasions in 34 Pro League matches this season, as well as providing eight goal contributions in as many contests since the conclusion of the regular season.

Standard Liege Belgian Pro League form:

Gent Belgian Pro League form:

Team News

Standard Liege are fighting towards the end of the campaign without midfield general Aiden O’Neill, who suffered a season-concluding ligament injury in March.

Les Rouches are also without the services of first-choice centre-back Zinho Vanheusden, with the Inter Milan loanee picking up a back issue in February.

Both Cihan Canak and Hakim Sahabo were replaced at half time during the defeat at Leuven, and it would be surprising to see either of the pair retain their spots in the XI for this one.

Gent’s medical room is looking less busy compared to their opponents, but the visitors have a long-term absentee in the form of goalkeeper Paul Nardi.

The broken ankle of the Frenchman means that Davy Roef is a certainty to continue in between the sticks for De Buffalos, looking to keep his eighth clean sheet of the term.

Standard Liege possible starting lineup:
Epolo; Panzo, Noubi, Laifis; Fossey, Kawabe, Price, Balikwisha, Sowah; Kanga, Yeboah

Gent possible starting lineup:
Roef; Mitrovic, Watanabe, Brown; Samiose, De Sart, Kums, Hjulsager; Gerkens, Hong, Tissoudali

We say: Standard Liege 1-1 Gent

Despite their struggles to turn draws into wins over recent weeks, Standard Liege have remained solid on their own patch, avoiding defeat at Stade Maurice Dufrasne during the last six matches at the venue.

With Gent’s spot in the Conference League playoff already confirmed, we are not expecting a blistering performance from the visitors on Saturday, meaning that a rather tame draw could be on the cards.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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