MICHAEL ADUBATO - Monday, April 23, 2012
Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht win while Gent wins without Mix Diskerud in weekend Belgian action.
Club Brugge 0 - 1 Anderlecht
In this battle of first vs. Second place in the Belgian championships play-offs, leaders Anderlecht claimed all the points from their closest rival thanks to Dieumerci Mbokani's very early strike in the Flemish city on Sunday evening.
American midfielder Sacha Kljestan started and went the distance in the middle of the park as he collected a late yellow card in front of the 28,200 crowd.
The Blue-Blacks started off strongly and created a couple good scoring chances, but after just 15 minutes found themselves a goal down. The Congolese goal scorer played a one-two with strike partner Matias Suarez as the Argentinian threaded his return pass through a pair of defenders and into the 18 yard box. Mbokani casually struck the ball across goal from eight yards out.
The Flemish boys could have tied things up ten minutes later off a Jonathan Blondell free kick but the chance came to nothing.
Club kept the lion's share of the ball and kept Silvio Proto busy in les Mauves' goal as he saved a Carlos Bacca shot, followed by Victor Vazquez' chance that was deflected by Kouyate and almost ended up in the back of the next.
The second half started pretty much the same as the first with Brugge dominating possession. Anderlecht was happy to defend and attack on the break, and this almost paid off but Milan Jovanovic's scorcher was knocked away by Serbian keeper Bojan Jorgacevic.
Brugge ended the game with a couple of "almost" when Bjorn Vleminckx beat Proto but not the far post. Akpala did find the back of the net but the offsides flag had already gone up before he struck the shot.
With the win, Anderlecht has opened up the gap once again to four points over Brugge with the first five of the 10 play-off games done and dusted. Next up for Kljestan and les Mauves will be a Friday night trip to Genk. The defending champions are currently in third place, after beating Standard Liege over the weekend.
Mix Diskerud didn't take part as KAA Gent came out 4-1 winners over Kortrijk. Gent holds down fourth place, eight points behind league leaders Anderlecht.