MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, April 18, 2011
Anderlecht picked up their first points in the play-offs as they put a pair of goals past Racing Genk to re-gain the top spot in the Jupiler Pro League.
American Sacha Kljestan was given a rare start by coach Ariel Jacobs and thanked the Israeli for his vote of confidence by setting up Chelsea target Romelu Lukaku for the second goal of the game. The first came courtesy of Serbian striker Dalibor Veselinovic, who was playing only his first game of the season.
The team from Limburg were on the back foot almost immediately and midfielder Jonathan Legear could have given the defending champions the a very early lead but for a half-decent save by Genk's shot-stopper, Thibaut Courtois. A minute later it was Legear picking out Kanu, who was back from injury, but he too was not able to convert the chance.
Soon afterwards however, in the fifth minute, Anderlecht lit up the scoreboard when Lukaku this time picked out Kanu, and the Brazilian's flick found the head of his Serbian team mate for the go-ahead goal. Before the end of the half, Anderlecht could have taken a 2-0 lead into the locker room but Lukaku's header was saved by the woodwork.
Genk did have a couple of chances of their own through Thomas Buffel and Jelle Vossen but Silvio Proto stood tall and denied both of the visiting strikers.
Although continuing their domination after the re-start, it took until the 78th minute before Anderlecht could finally put the game to bed. Off a corner taken by Legear that was sent to Guillaume Gillet, the Belgian midfielder then found Kljestan, who delivered the ball right on the head of Lukaku, who beat Courtois.
Racing's Elyaniv Barda almost pulled one back for the visitors but Proto and the Brussels' defense was saved by the post.
Up next for Anderlecht is a trip west on Wednesday evening to take on KAA Gent. The Flemish team is currently in fifth place out of the six teams, having lost their last game at home against Oguchi Onyewu's old employer, Standard Liege.