GAMES Anderlecht didn't manage to finish off its first match of 2022 victorious. It came no further than 1-1 against a weakened Standard. After half-time, Anderlecht seemed to play on automatic pilot and in the final phase, Dragus intercepted a weak ball and cancelled out Verschaeren's 1-0.
At the halftime signal Anderlecht deservedly led 1-0. It had the upper hand, but hesitation in defending almost led to a comedy caper when Muleka blocked a long ball from Magallan in minute 23. Van Crombrugge was attentive and prevented the ball from landing in the goal. That was also Standard's most dangerous fact before half time. Anderlecht threatened via Murillo and via Amuzu. Refaelov and Verschaeren also tried once. Just after half an hour Anderlecht climbed to the lead. Refaelov played Zirkzee who played Verschaeren. The striker didn't give Bodart a chance. At the end of the first half, Gomez and Refaelov also tried their luck.
The game continued to simmer after the break, but Anderlecht played sloppy and didn't manage to be dangerous before the hour. Kompany brought Amuzu and Olsson on the side for Raman and Ashimeru just after the hour. Zirkzee provided the first danger after halftime. The Dutchman dribbled free, but Bodart saved with his feet. Moments later, a long run by Zirkzee stranded between a bunch of Liege legs. In another attack, Verschaeren and Refaelov seemed to be hindering each other a bit.
With twenty minutes to go, purple-white still had a narrow lead. Anderlecht kept playing sluggishly and was sloppy with the few chances they created, which kept Standard believing in winning points. Anderlecht's passionless play after half-time was punished when Gomez played back to his goalkeeper too weakly and unnecessarily. Dragus was quicker off the mark than Van Crombrugge and aimed the ball into the empty goal. When you've been playing on automatic pilot for a while, it's obviously not easy to suddenly have to speed up. Anderlecht wasn't dangerous anymore and lost two precious points in the battle for play-off 1.
After a long series of good matches, this is again one to forget quickly. Anderlecht should have always won, but it seemed to underestimate Standard and there didn't seem to be the awareness that the margin was barely a goal. Standard were dangerous twice tonight and twice through fumbles by purple-white. Wondering which Anderlecht we will see next week. Will Kompany's troops get back on track with the win or have we started another series of saltless draws?
Goal(s): 1-0 Verschaeren 31', 1-1 Dragus 85'
Anderlecht:Van Crombrugge, Murillo, Magallan, Hoedt, Gomez, Cullen, Olsson (Ashimeru 62'), Verschaeren, Amuzu (Raman 62'), Refaelov, Zirkzee
Standard:Bodart, Dewaele, Dussenne (Canak 77'), Laifis, Nkounkou, Cimirot (Pavlovic 69'), Raskin, Cafaro (Lestienne 69'), Dønnum , Emond (Al-Dkahil 77'), Muleka (Dragus 55')
Yellow: Dussenne 13', Emond 76', Magallan 81', Dewaele 89'
Referee: Bram Van Driessche
Stadium: Lotto Park
Source: © Internal source