RSC Anderlecht have made a good start in the Europa League group stage. The team from Brussels received AEK Athens at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in the first EL match of the group stage and the Purple & White sent the Greeks home with a 4-1 defeat. Man of the match Matias Suarez (3) and Milan Jovanovic scored the home goals.
Anderlecht - starting the game with the same line-up as for last Sunday’s match against Kortrijk - tried to put pressure on the AEK defence from the first minute on, but the visitors were the first to create a real opportunity. Fortunately Silvio Proto made a good save on a long shot by Karabelas. Sporting reacted through shots by Suarez and Biglia, but the attempts only just went wide. After some fifteen minutes of play, the 1-0 did appear on the board. Fernando fed the ball to Matias Suarez, the Argentinian headed toward goalie Konstantopoulos, went down in the box but was able to score lying on the ground. The Purple & White remained the better team after the opening goal and, just before the thirtieth minute of play, Milan Jovanovic put the 2-0 in with a perfect header, after a cross by Fernando.
The Greeks replied with the tying goal only three minutes after this. Leonardo was sent away and nicely put the ball in: 2-1. Still, Anderlecht went into half-time with more of a lead, again thanks to Matias Suarez. With a sublime kick with his right foot, the Argentinian put the ball in the top corner, well outside of AEK goalie Konstantopoulos’s reach.
In the second half, Anderlecht took control of the match without too much of an effort and when the visitors were reduced to ten players fifteen minutes before the final whistle, after Manolas had been booked for the second time, the game was over. MVP Matias Suarez scored his third goal of the evening just before the final whistle. Sacha Kljestan fed the ball to the Argentinian, Suarez went past his man and nicely scored the 4-1.
Sporting Anderlecht start their new Europa League campaign with a nice and important victory. The Purple & White’s next EL game will take place in Moscow, where Anderlecht will take on Lokomotiv in a fortnight. Next Sunday a league match against KAA Ghent will also take place in the Jupiler Pro League.