Antwerp win Belgian title on dramatic final day

Published on: 04 June 2023

Royal Antwerp coach Mark van Bommel celebrates with his players after Toby Alderweireld's equaliser

Ex-Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld scored a stoppage-time equaliser to hand Royal Antwerp the Belgian title in a dramatic end to the season on Sunday.

In the dying minutes of a three-way race for the title, Racing Genk and then Union Saint-Gilloise were set to become league champions.

But Antwerp's Alderweireld struck in the 94th minute to make it 2-2 at Genk.

And that sparked wild celebrations as it was enough to hand his hometown club their first title in 66 years.

"I have no words for this," said Alderweireld, 34, who joined Antwerp from Qatari side Al-Duhail last summer.

"Everyone wrote us off, we fought so hard for this. Everyone was against us, but we did it today."

Antwerp finished the season one point ahead of Genk and Union, who were set to become Belgian champions for the first time in 88 years having only ended a 48-year absence from the top flight in 2021.

In the 89th minute of the last championship play-off matches, Antwerp looked out of the race as they trailed 2-1 while Union were 1-0 up at home over Club Brugge.

But Japanese striker Shion Homma equalised for an under-strength Brugge to thrust Genk, who only had an outside chance before kick-off, into pole position.

At Genk, six minutes of added time were indicated and in the fourth, Alderweireld fired into the top corner from 20 yards to stun the home crowd, with coach Mark van Bommel and some of his staff charging on to the field to celebrate as the former Belgium defender ran the length of the field in front of the Antwerp fans.

Meanwhile, Union, owned by Brighton owner Tony Bloom, ultimately lost 3-1 as Brugge struck twice more in stoppage time.

    Line-upsMatch Stats

Line-upsKRC Genk

Formation 4-2-3-1

26Vandevoordt23Muñoz46Cuesta2McKenzie5Arteaga8Heynen17Hrosovsky28Paintsil34El Khannouss11Trésor99Arokodare

    26Vandevoordt23Muñoz46CuestaSubstituted forOuattaraat 71'minutes2McKenzie5Arteaga8Heynen17Hrosovsky28PaintsilBooked at 69mins34El KhannoussSubstituted forSorat 86'minutes11Trésor99ArokodareSubstituted forSamattaat 78'minutes


    3Sadick Aliu4Ouattara7Samatta14Sor19Ait El Hadj22Carstensen24Oyen40Leysen77Preciado

Royal Antwerp

Formation 4-3-3


    1Butez34Bataille23Alderweireld51Pacho22Ávila27KeitaSubstituted forYusufat 78'minutes48Vermeeren24EkkelenkampSubstituted forMujaat 71'minutes7KerkBooked at 47minsSubstituted forScottat 90'minutes18Janssen10BalikwishaBooked at 90mins


    8Yusuf11Muja19Miyoshi26De Wolf32Scott33Van Den Bosch38Haroun50Krasniqi

Referee:Nathan VerboomenMatch StatsHome TeamKRC GenkAway TeamRoyal AntwerpPossessionHome53%Away47%ShotsHome7Away14Shots on TargetHome3Away4CornersHome1Away3FoulsHome12Away15


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