RECAP: ANDERLECHT 4 - 1 AS EUPEN
Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht rode four second half goals to kick off their 2010-2011 Eerste Klasse campaign with a victory over spunky AS Eupen on Saturday at Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
Although widely believed that he would make the starting 11, Kljestan in fact started the match on the bench looking on as Anderlecht came out looking very sluggish against their newly-promoted counterparts.
An injury in the 38th minute to Lucas Biglia saw the former Chivas USA star get called on by head coach AriŽl Jacobs to fill in for the Argentine and Kljestan would help man the Anderlecht midfield the rest of the way.
The Purple & White were tentative the entire first half and unable to generate much on the offensive end. Meanwhile Eupen played with a nothing-to-lose attitude and it paid off with a goal in the 45th minute by Alex Costa Dos Santos.
An earlier Eupen shot had rattled off the crossbar but the visitors continued to retain possession and ultimately a cross into the area saw Dos Santos easily tap in a shot from the six yard line on the brink of halftime.
Kljestan's play in the first half mirrored that of his team's as the American had a couple giveaways and failed to find any type of rhythm.
Jacobs must have ignited his team with his halftime speech because Anderlecht looked completely different in the second half.
Matias Suarez got things rolling in the 59th with a superb finish off a corner kick. The Argentine volleyed home the corner just inside the near post to awaken the home crowd.
Seven minutes later Jonathan Legear put Anderlecht ahead for good thanks to some shoddy defending by Eupen who allowed Legear to slip inside the area unmarked and it was an easy header into the back of the net off a long cross by the Belgian.
Suarez tallied his second of the match five minutes later in the 71st off an error by Eupen goalkeeper Olivier Werner.
The visiting netminder fumbled a looping cross that should have been handled and Suarez was there for the scraps nodding home from close range.
One minute from time Mbark Boussoufa added the fourth for the home team when a rocket by Legear was deflected out right to Boussoufa who calmly shook a Eupen defender before deposting a shot into goal.
Kljestan was not involved in any of the run-ups to the four goals but will hope for a better performance next time out when Anderlecht host The New Saints in the return leg of their Champions League qualifying round match on Tuesday.