ANDERLECHT SCORES TOUCHDOWN AGAINST LIERSE
Sacha Kljestan started and put in a solid 80 minutes as Anderlecht ran roughshod over Lierse SK.
Five different players accounted for the six goals against the penultimate team in the league, while goal keeper Silvio Proto kept a clean sheet.
Before Santa Claus, who was in attendance, was able to get his jolly self comfortable in his VIP seat, the champions were up a goal.
Anderlecht won a third minute free kick and from the resulting set piece Mbark Boussoufa whipped the offering into the box. Roland Juhasz jumped up in between a pair of defenders and nodded the ball past Eiji Kawashima in the Lierse goal - the first of a half dozen times that the Japanese national team goal keeper would pick the ball out of the back of his net.
The Belgian champions were at it a couple minutes later as Boussoufa crossed the ball for Guillaume Gillet who danced inside the box past a duo of defenders, but his screamer at goal was blocked by defender Kris De Wree who was very slow to get up.
Lierse came back at their hosts and had a 10th minute chance when Joeri Dequevy slid a pass into the middle of the box for ex-Fulham man Tomasz Radzinski, who held it up for the midfielder to get into the box and set him up for a shot; unfortunately his effort never troubled Proto as it went well wide of the post.
Anderlecht could have gone two up when Tom De Sutter let off a screaming shot that was deflected and fell to Boussoufa who pulled the trigger from inside the box and forced Kawashima into an acrobatic save.
With 20 minutes gone, the game was very even except for the goal, however when the visitors had possession they seemed reluctant to shoot while Les Mauves shot at every opportunity.
A few minutes later, Belgian teen sensation Romelu Kukaku was played through the middle and was set to bear down on goal but his marker tripped over and drew a free kick against the 17 year-old. Another warning shot came at the Lierse number one when Lucas Biglia played a long ball to Lukaku and the teen controlled and smack a half-decent shot that beat the Japanese keeper, but not the far post.
It took until three minutes before the intermission for Lukaku to put his league goal tally into double-digits. Kurt van Dooren brought down de Sutter 20 yards from the goal for an Anderlecht free kick just to the right of the top of the area. Boussoufa struck the dead ball which Kawashima got a piece of, however it fell in front of his goal and the Belgian front man beat everyone to it and smashed it into the back of the net to double the lead.
Last year's division two champions had a great opportunity to get themselves back into the game after defender Marcin Wasilewski badly controlled a long ball that fell to Wesley Sonck. Kasey Keller's ex-teammate at Monchengladbach shot quickly but into the cheap seats from just 20 yards out.
On the stroke of halftime there was then a missed Les Mauves opportunity when Wasilewski fed his Moroccan team mate Boussoufa, who delivered a Beckhamesque cross onto the head of Lukaku in the box, but the youngster's effort barely cleared the crossbar.
The second half started with Matias Suarez coming on in place of De Sutter after the Belgian was brought down hard in the first half but continued to play.
Lierse started the second 45 minutes with a bit of pep in their step and attacked Proto's goal three minutes in when the South African defender Sibonisio Gaxa did his best to play the Canadian Radzinski through. The pass was too heavy for the aging Canuck, however, as he was unable to latch on and could only watch the Belgian international scoop it up.
This was soon followed by another Lierse chance when Radzinski beat the offside trap but instead of going it on his own, waited for Sonck, but the Belgian's shot was blocked by Juhasz.
As bad as the score sounds for Lierse, Kawashima had a better game then the numbers show. In the 49th minute his hapless defense was turned by the Moroccan who collected the ball from Lukaku, faked a shot and beat another defender before pulling the trigger from a tight angle that the Japanese keeper had to slap over the bar. The ensuing corner was met by the head of Anderlecht's Polish defender, but Wasilewski's nod was grabbed by Kawashima.
Kljestan joined the action after collecting a pass from Lukaku and spotting Suarez making a forward run into the right side of the box. The pass was on he money but the Argentinian's first timer was knocked into the lower deck.
When the clock struck an hour the Brussels team was up another goal. As Gillet was bearing down on goal, the clumsy van Dooren tripped him up just as he entered the box, handing a penalty kick to Anderlecht. Wasilewski placed the ball on the spot and did the honors, blasting past Kawashima.
The very busy Japanese keeper recorded another save in the 63rd minute after Proto sent a free kick down the length of the field which was headed forward by Boussoufa right into the path of Gillet. The Liege-born international struck hard and true but the man between the sticks grabbed hold of it with both hands.
With the visitor's switching into damage control mode, they pressed forward and Sonck uncorked a shot in the 68th minute which was uneventful - except for the fact that it was the first shot on goal. Proto collected the effort easily.
A pair of minutes later it was 4 - 0 to the champs. Substitute Pablo Chavarria stole possession and played it to his Moroccan teammate who kept pace with defender Van Dooren, before turning on the jets and flying past the Belgian and latching onto the pass that he fired into the back of the net from 15 yards.
In the 83rd minute Proto was called on to make his second save of the night, this time from a free kick taken by Lierse sub Gilberto. His serving ball does little to trouble the Anderlecht number one.
Having been awarded a free kick on the edge of the box after Van Dooren brought down Lukas Marecek, Boussoufa dinked the ball over the wall and although it looked an easy clearance, Chavarria snuck in the back door and headed it home.
The scoring was capped off a minute before full time by Boussoufa who struck for the second time on the night after a stellar pass from Suarez into the box allowed him to beat Kawashima who was obviously relieved to hear the final whistle a minute later.
Anderlecht's American midfielder Kljestan was unavailable after the game, however under-employed Proto was happy to talk to YA when all was done and dusted.
"It was a good game for the team. I didn't have any good saves to make tonight so I can only say that my defense did a good job. Also the midfield; they ran a lot so we had space created for the forwards."
When you play in Anderlecht and you score early in the game you know that you're going to have space after. I think the way Lierse played, they were a little bit afraid (of us) and we were able to play our game."
The Belgian champs travel to into East Flanders on Wednesday to take on mid-table Kortrijk before the winter break.