Lommel SK made the title race in the Challenger Pro League even more exciting. After Beerschot won against RSCA Futures, SK Beveren needed a win to stay in first but they fell short at home against Groen-Wit. SK Beveren lined up in a 5-3-2 against Lommel’s 4-3-3 and quickly lost control of the game. Rafik Belghali opened the score after ten minutes and not long after Anello doubled the lead. The hosts did something back but in the second half Alonso Martínez brought Lommel’s lead back to two goals. SK Beveren tried to push for a point but struggled to create a lot of danger. Thierno Barry, who had a very difficult night, thought he scored the equalizer but he was offside. I’m not 100% sure but it kind of looked like the ball would’ve gone in if the striker didn’t touch it.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Algerian/Belgian
- Age: 20
- Date of Birth: 07/06/2002
- Current Club: Lommel SK
- Career: STVV (Y), PSV (Y), Lierse SK (Y), Zulte-Waregem (Y)
- Position: Right Back
- Secondary Position: Right Winger
- Preferred Foot: Right
Rafik Belghali very much looks like your classic winger turned into a fullback and played as right back against SK Beveren, playing as a wingback in the last 10-15 minutes of the game when Lommel switched to a 5-3-2 formation. According to Wyscout and Transfermarkt, the 20-year-old is 186 centimetres tall but I have a really hard time believing that. Comparing him to the other players on the pitch I would estimate him to be around 175-180 centimetres max with a lean build. Defensively, Belghali didn’t have a very busy day. Beveren didn’t use the wings that much and if they did it was only their wingback Ismaheel going forward. In the few defensive duels he had, Belghali was very patient waiting for his opponent to make a mistake. He is very fast on the first meters and is able to turn very quickly. He was able to react to his opponent’s movements and catch up to them if necessary.
Lommel’s fullback was very comfortable on the ball and this was definitely where he impressed me the most. In the 10th minute, Belghali opened the score in a spectacular way. The right-back put in a poor early cross from around 25 meters out, which went over SK Beveren’s goalkeeper in the back of the net. Now, this may be a bad sign for his crossing abilities but throughout the rest of the match the few crosses he put in looked fine. In the 53rd minute, he also played a big part in the 1-3. After a cleared corner, Belghali picked up the ball and played a good through pass to Martínez, who scored.
His decision-making in the final third still left me with some questions though, especially a moment in the final seconds of the match caused this doubt. In the dying seconds of the game, Belghali made one more sprint forward and was in a 2v1 against the goalkeeper. Instead of squaring the ball to his teammate he tried to go around the corner but failed. He then got another chance but went for a shot with his left foot.
Technical Belghali looked very solid against SK Beveren. The right-back would often receive the ball in build-up near the touchline and looked really composed on the ball. He wasn’t afraid to take on an opponent and often cut inside from the right, which opened passing lanes to Lommel’s forwards.
Rating – A1
Rafik Belghali showed that he has a lot to learn but I think that he is ready for a chance in the Jupiler Pro League, the top flight of Belgian football, next season. He didn’t show a lot defensively but at the same time Beveren’s left wingback Ismaheel couldn’t get into the game.