MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, August 5, 2013
Anderlecht got their season back on track as they crushed Cercle Brugge, thanks to a pair of goals from Massimo Bruno and strikes from Olivier Deschacht and Matias Suarez.
Californian Sacha Kljestan came off injured last week in Anderlecht's loss against Sporting Lokeren and was expected to miss this week's encounter, however Coach John van den Brom decided to slot the Seton Hall alumni in with a piece of stylish head gear to protect his tattered ear, and he played the full 90 minutes.
Les Mauves did play a much worse team than they faced last weekend as the green side of the city that is known as the Venice of the North barely survived relegation last season.
With very early chances by both teams when Guillaume Gillet could only direct his header into the arms of Cercle's Bram Verbist and a Junior Kabananga shot was saved by Silvio Proto, Anderlecht then pushed forward as champions would be expected to and took control of the game.
When the game clock at Jan Breydelstadion struck seven minutes, Deschacht struck the ball and hit the back of the net for the first goal of the evening. Bruno burst up the field and found his defender team mate who shot hard and true, thereby rippling the Cercle net.
With one defender lighting up the score board, another, Bram Nuytinck also had a sniff at goal but in the battle of the Brams, it was Verbist who came out on top.
After Anderlecht's dominance, Kabananga showed up for the hosts and tested Proto once again. The Belgian shot stopper came out on top again however. After Proto returned the ball to play, les Mauves continued bursting forward and five minutes before the half the score was 2-0. This time Suarez was able to lob the ball over the Cercle number one from distance.
Barely minutes after the re-start Gohi Bi Zoro Cyriac missed a header but then Bruno didn't, giving the champions a 3-0 lead. You could have stuck a fork in the Green and Blacks because they were very much done.
But Anderlecht most definitely were not done; at least not until three minutes before the hour mark when Bruno did it again, slotting his shot into the back of the net with his left foot.
In the 66th minute van den Brom felt that it was over too and decided to give youth a chance, bringing on Jordan Lukaku, the 19 year old brother of Chelsea striker Romulu Lukaku, and new signing Luka Milivojevic. Bruno then came out in the 70th minute for ex-DC United winger, Andy Najar who recently returned from the Gold Cup.
The win gave Kljestan and company their first points of the season. Next weekend they'll stay at home and welcome KAA Gent to Brussels. The Buffaloes scraped out a win against Mechelen and are one point better off than Anderlecht.