RSC Anderlecht played the most important match of the entire season on Tuesday 28th Augustus 2012. Against the Cypriot AEL Limassol, they had to turn around a 2-1 score from the first leg. The Purple & White only managed to do so in the final minutes of the game and put AEL behind hem thanks to goals by Dieumerci Mbokani and Oleksandr Iakovenko.
Anderlecht coach John van de Brom carried through a couple of changes to the players who started the first leg: Olivier Deschacht and Tom De Sutter were in the starting line-up. Milan Jovanovic was suspended.
Anderlecht dominated the match in an offensive way from the first minute on, but were never really dangerous. After ten minutes of play, a nice action ended up with Tom De Sutter, but the striker’s shot hit the side of the net. After fifteen minutes of play, the opportunity of the first half was created: Kanu reached Dieumerci Mbokani, the Congolese forward headed straight for the visiting goalie, but was not able to take a swing, as AEL goalkeeper Degra made the save. Kanu also hit the goalie. After half an hour’s worth of play, Tom De Sutter reached Lucas Biglia, but the Argentinian was bothered by a Limassol defender, so his shot went wide. Ten minutes before half-time, AEL pushed through and were immediately dangerous. Silvio Proto kept his goal clean with a nice reflex. Anderlecht kept on pressuring the visitors via attempts by Kanu and Tom De Sutter, but they were not able to score.
Anderlecht kept on putting pressure on the Cypriot defence in the second half. AEL goalie Degra did not control a cross by Denis Odoi and Dieumerci Mbokani’s subsequent header was saved on the line. After an hour, John van den Brom carried through his first substitution, Oleksandr Iakovenko came in for Tom De Sutter. That substitution worked out well as the Ukrainian forced Degra to make a good save with a shot from a distance. Only a few minutes later on, Guillaume Gillet was close to scoring the opening goal, Oleksandr Iakovenko reached Dieumerci Mbokani after a corner and the latter passed the ball to Gillet, whose shot hit the crossbar. Fifteen minutes before the end, the young Massimo Bruno came in. A golden substitution, as the youngster provided Dieumerci Mbokani with a perfect assist eight minutes before the final whistle. The important 1-0 had gone in and, in the final minutes of the game, Oleksandr Iakovenko put the 2-0 final score on the board after a one-two with Kanu. This was more than enough for Sporting to qualify for the Champions League, their opponents will be announced on Thursday night.