Our prediction for this Belgium Pro League match:
All eyes will be on Bosuilstadion when Antwerp and Standard Liege square off against each other in the Jupiler League round 18. Antwerp have been producing fine displays in the national championship ever since they suffered a 2-1 loss at St. Truiden, with the team beating both Oostende and Beerschot VA in the previous two league fixtures. Aurelio Buta is a major doubt, but head coach Brian Priske can count on key players for Sunday’s clash.
The Red Devils, on the other hand, aim to bounce back from a heavy 3-0 loss to Charleroi. Standard Liege suffered a dip in form, and seeing that Antwerp have been showing signs of improvement in early December, the visitors are likely to return home empty-handed. Hugo Siquet is banned for the visiting team, while fellow defender Nicolas Gavory should miss out with injury.
Highlighted Player (Lior Refaelov):
Lior Refaelov is an Israeli footballer playing as an attacking midfielder for the Belgium giants with whom he has been a mainstay since his arrival in 2011. Rafaelov began his career at Maccabi Haifa where he played 161 league appearances and scored 30 goals before moving to Belgium.
The experienced 30-year-old Israel international has made his senior debut for his country in 2007 and has since earned over 30 caps for Israel. Lior Rafaelov is a player of vast international experience despite the fact Club Brugge are his first and so far only club in Europe.
The 30-year-old attacking midfielder is a major force upfront who has scored six times during Brugge’s Europa League campaign in 2014-15, while he also scored the winner in the Belgian Cup final to earn his club a first trophy in eight years. Last season Rafaleov repeated the feat, having scored in the 2016 Belgian Cup Final, but it wasn’t enough for Club Brugge to avoid getting defeated 2-1 to Standard Liege.
Highlighted Team (St Liege):
Standard are a Belgian football club based in Liege. The club was founded back in 1898 and 11 years later they joined Belgian First League. Les Rouches (the Reds) immediately dropped to the lower leagues, but in 1921 they returned to the Belgian top flight. Standard won their first Belgian League trophy in 1958, but you should have in mind that they were level on points with second-placed Royal Antwerp.
In 2009 the Reds clinched their tenth domestic title, beating Anderlecht in the title game. Talented midfielder Axel Witsel scored the winner for Standard in the 1-0 triumph over their bitter rivals. Standard play their home games at Stade Maurice Dufrasne, the venue that was opened in 1909. The capacity of the stadium is 30 023.
Maurice Dufrasne was the club’s chairman from 1909 until 1931. Speaking of the club’s European success, Standard participated in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final in 1982, losing to La Liga giants Barcelona in the title game.