Gent secure their first Belgian league title
Gent secured the first Belgian league title in their 115-year history on Thursday with a 2-0 victory over Standard Liege in their penultimate Championship playoff match.
Sven Kums opened the scoring after 19 minutes and Renato Neto put the result beyond doubt by converting a 51st-minute penalty.
The triumph maintained Gent's five-point cushion over Club Brugge -- who were 3-2 winners at Charleroi -- with just one game to go.
The Belgian league has become a nailbiter since it introduced a playoff competition at the end of the season when the top six teams start anew with their points total divided by two. It makes for sudden changes in the standings and drama up to the last rounds of the competition.
It also saw them move six points clear of Anderlecht, who were held to a 2-2 draw after 120 minutes at KV Kortrijk.
First-half goals from Brandon Mechele and Lior Refaelov looked to have put Club Brugge in the ascendancy at Charleroi and, although Kalifa Coulibaly halved the deficit on 56 minutes, Tom De Sutter swiftly restored the visitors' two-goal cushion before Jesse Lopez's late consolation.
Anderlecht's title hopes were dashed as they could manage only a 2-2 draw -- after extra time -- at Kortrijk, which dropped them to third.
Goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half from Dennis Praet and Aleksandar Mitrovic had put Anderlecht in the driving seat, but Brecht Capon (77) and Ivan Santini (81) got the hosts back level by the end of 90 minutes, and a further 30 minutes could not separate the sides.
Standard and Charleroi will meet on Sunday to determine who finishes fourth.