Toby Alderweireld scored an amazing goal as Antwerp won their first league championship in half a century
Belgium’s Jupiler League season came to an exciting conclusion this weekend as three teams battle it out for the title in the final moments of the 2022-23 campaign.
The Pro League’s 34-game regular season came to a head last month with Mexico’s Gerardo Arteaga’s Racing Genk in first place, just ahead of Union Saint-Guillois on goal difference, which itself was three points behind third-placed Antwerp.
The trio then qualified for the playoffs (which were first introduced for the 2009–10 season) with Club Brugge finishing the regular season in fourth place, 13 points behind Antwerp and still as champions. A chance to emerge
After five playoff games (meeting twice both home and away), Sunday was the last day of action with Antwerp (46) and Union Saint-Gillois (46) tied for top of the mini-league, which was one point ahead of Genk. in third (45.) and out of the running for Club Brugge in fourth (33.)
Finally, Antwerp held a last-minute 2-2 draw with Genk to surprisingly seal the 2022-23 Pro League title, while Union lost 3-1 to Club Brugge.
But as the final day wore on, with goals coming in and fluctuating in double digits, title fortunes ran short and the campaign switched between the three clubs in exactly five minutes when Genk and Gerardo Arteaga found themselves on target. The championship seemed to be in his hands.
Here’s how things played out:
45th minute: Genk 1-0 Antwerp (Toluvalse Arokodare).
It took some time, but things eventually fell into place when Arokodare scored his first goal of the day, putting Genk ahead on the stroke of half-time and sending them straight to the top of the standings.
– Pro League (@ProLeagueBE) June 4, 2023
46th minute: Union Saint-Gilois 1-0 Club Brugge (Simon Adingra).
Immediately after the break, Edingra scored against a Club Brugge with nothing to play for, with a goal that put Union back on top.
58th minute: Genk 1-1 Antwerp (Gyarno Kerk).
Antwerp scored their first goal of the evening just before the hour mark through Kerk. However, Antwerp still needed one more goal if they were to take the lead over Union in the table.
75th minute: Genk 2-1 Antwerp (Brian Heinen).
Genk moved back into contention when Heenen restored the lead and moved them into second place, one point behind leader Union.
89th minute: Union Saint-Gillois 1-1 Club Brugge (Shione Homa)
The cracks began to appear for Union, who let their lead slip once again on 89 minutes against Club Brugge thanks to Genk and Gerardo Artega heading into the first half.
90+3 min: Union Saint-Gillois 1-2 Club Brugge (Noah Lang)
With Genk at the top of the league as things stood, Union’s championship aspirations were dashed by another stoppage-time goal for Club Brugge.
min 90+4: Genk 2-2 Antwerp (Toby Alderweireld)
Looking for a late goal, veteran defender Alderweireld equalized for Antwerp. The defender secured the tie with a brilliant last-minute goal that put his team in first place for the first time and snatched the championship away from Genk and Gerardo Artega.
Minutes 90+10: Union Saint-Gillois 1-3 Club Brugge (Sis Sandra)
Union conceded another late goal to end their hopes altogether.
end of match
Antwerp won their first Pro League title since 1957, Antwerp-born Alderweireld returned to his hometown last summer and etched his name in history forever.
Final Whistle Emo pic.twitter.com/t2y5PmYmyL
– Royal Antwerp FC (@official_rafc) June 4, 2023
1. Antwerp – 47 points
2. Union Saint-Gillois – 46
3. Genk – 46
4. Club Brugge – 36