Anderlecht have first win under Robin Veldman, but fumbling in the back made it exciting against Eupen

Anderlecht have first win under Robin Veldman, but fumbling in the back made it exciting against Eupen

The Purple & White did what they had to by beating Eupen. Yet Anderlecht fell into old habits: the defensive standstill phases remain a tricky point, and with a little more efficiency Anderlecht could already lead 4-0 before the break. It eventually became 4-2.

The knife to the throat, episode eleven for Anderlecht. The Purple & White had to beat Eupen to be able to start something quietly in the coming week: with matches at Silkeborg in Europe, at Lierse in the cup and against Antwerp and Genk in the competition, a new misstep was impossible.

Robin Veldman had to puzzle for his first league match as coach: Yari Verschaeren had dropped out with a knee injury, Mario Stroeykens came in his place. In the back, Debast rejoined the squad, putting Vertonghen on left back. Across the street, there was also a debutant in the dugout: Kristoffer Andersen – son of Anderlecht celebrity Henrik Andersen – is temporarily taking over the honors after Bernd Storck’s resignation at Eupen.

Anderlecht misses open opportunities

The Purple & White started the game best: predominant possession of the ball, a few corner kicks forced and a few small chances. In the quarter of an hour it was already price: Hoedt sent Amuzu pretty deep, and the winger knocked Moser in his short corner. For Anderlecht the signal to go all-in: Wakaso put Ashimeru down outside the box, Refaelov went behind the ball and turned it over the wall into goal: party in ‘t Park. The Purple & White still had plenty of chances to have the sheep on dry land before half time, but Amuzu delayed too long and Silva only missed for Moser. Eupen was nowhere, but on the stroke of half-time it was 2-1. Stef Peeters put a free kick in front of the goal, Hoedt kicked the ball hard into his own goal. You have to be able to do it, being Eupen: not kicking on goal in the entire first half and still go to rest 2-1.


It seemed as if Anderlecht wanted to bring bad luck on themselves: after the break Eupen let it come too easily. Although the first chances in the second half were still for Silva and Vertonghen, it was Eupen that came closest to scoring. Prevljak kept Hoedt talking, put the ball aside to Stef Peeters and a good Van Crombrugge was needed to keep him from the 2-2. A few more corners followed, but without danger.

When Anderlecht put their nose to the window again, it was a prize after all: after a lot of wrangling, the ball finally landed in front of Refaelov’s feet, who calmly kicked it across the corner. A collective sigh of relief swept through Lotto Park. Three minutes later, that sigh made way for whistles: again Stef Peeters – in about the same place as before halftime – got the chance to score from a free kick. Now the number 8 hit the ball himself against the ropes from an almost impossible angle for a left leg. Hoedt was in the area again, and Van Crombrugge also misjudged.

Veldman decided to intervene and let Theo Leoni – his captain at the RSCA Futures – make his debut to loud applause. The young midfielder is “already” 22, but a fixed value in the Purple & White youth teams. Anderlecht were lucky: a strong Debast started to blunder, but Van Crombrugge parried Prevljak’s effort, who was flagged for offside. In the end, El Hadj – rehabilitated after refusing to play with the Futures at the end of August – secured the win, curling the ball into the far corner on a counterattack.

Photo: BELGA

Anderlecht finally won for the first time in six (!) matches across all competitions, although the balance with 6 out of 18 in the competition still looks very thin. This victory puts Anderlecht in tenth place next to Cercle Brugge, Eupen remains in the danger zone with only one point more than Seraing and Zulte Waregem.

For the Purple & White, another match of truth awaits on Thursday in Denmark, where Silkeborg has to beat to advance in Europe.

RSC Anderlecht: Van Crombrugge, Murillo (89′ Sadiki), Debast, Hoedt, Vertonghen, Diawara (75′ Leoni), Ashimeru, Refaelov (75′ Esposito), Stroeykens, Amuzu (60′ El Hadj), Silva

Eupen: Moser, Van Genechten, Lambert, Davidson (78′ Paeshuyse), Magnée (84′ Déom), Wakaso (46′ Charles-Cook), Peeters, Alloh (84′ Gassama), Bitumazala, N’Dri (59′ Nuhu ), Prevljak

Goals: 14′ Amuzu (Hodt) 1-0, 19′ Refaelov 2-0, 44′ Hoedt (own goal) 2-1, 65′ Refaelov (Murillo) 3-1, 68′ Peeters 3-2

Gele kaarten: 17′ Wakaso, 59′ Allah, 67′ Murillo, 85′ Silva

Red cards: none

Referee: Jan Boterberg

Anderlecht have first win under Robin Veldman, but fumbling in the back made it exciting against Eupen

Foto:  Isosport

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