MICHAEL ADUBATO - Thursday, October 28, 2010
On a night that the Belgian champions would prefer to forget, Anderlecht struggled to a 2-2 tie with third division Centre before advancing in the Belgian Cup after a penalty shoot-out.
American midfielder Sacha Kljestan, who recently returned to the first team roster, played the full 90 minutes in the Walloonian town of La Louviere against the third division leaders. Coach Ariel Jacobs however had to do without both Jan Polak and Ondrej Mazuch who were serving suspensions, as well as Olivier Deschacht who just underwent successful ankle surgery.
It was the home team that shocked the traveling Anderlecht fans when they took the lead when Romain Delaby chipped the ball into the back of Anderlecht's net. It only took the visitors ten minutes to draw level courtesy of Pablo Chavarria.
Just before half-time however, Delaby struck again and the lower league team took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room.
It didn't take long for Les Mauves to draw level yet again when Ziguy Badibanga found Guillaume Gillet in space and the Belgian used his head to put his name on the score sheet. Both teams had good chances to win the game late on but in the end it came to penalties after neither could score in extra time.
When all was said and done, the Brussels team advanced to the next round by out-scoring Centre by 4-1 with Klejstan scoring his free kick and Anderlecht keeper Davy Schollen saving one for the champions while another hit the crossbar.
Now qualified for the round of 16, Les Mauves will have to travel to Westerlo and do it all over again on November 10th. Before then however, they'll take on Racing Genk on Halloween night in league action.