Gregory Mertens: Lokeren return to action after player's death

Lokeren players wearing t-shirts in memory of team-mate Gregory Mertens
Team-mates of Gregory Mertens were visibly upset by the death of the Lokeren defender

Lokeren's players paid tribute to team-mate Gregory Mertens as they returned to action on Friday, a day after the defender's death at the age of 24.

Before the play-off fixture against Westerlo in Belgium's Pro League - which they lost 4-3 - the Lokeren team lined up in T-shirts bearing Mertens' name, some of the players visibly in tears.

Mertens collapsed on the pitch during Lokeren's reserve fixture against Genk on Monday and died of heart failure after time on a life support machine.

Lokeren's defeat was their first in their play-off fixtures, although they still top their group as they pursue a possible place in next season's Europa League.

Supporters show their appreciation for Gregory Mertens
Former Belgium under-21 international Gregory Mertens joined Lokeren in January 2014