Writing on the blog yesterday, I reasoned that Anderlecht might grab a draw with Malaga. John Van denBrom’s team have shown good league form recently and achieved a good result in Milan. It wasn’t to be though, as Malaga came to Brussels and played Anderlecht off the pitch.
Isco was a constant threat in midfield, showing great touch and vision. He was aided by Joaquin, who rolled back the years to show he could still be a threat in the Champions League. Silvio Proto kept Anderlecht in the game during the first half with a string of first-class saves and he only beaten on the stroke of half-time by an absolute screamer from Eliseu. The early penalty in the second half killed the game and Anderlecht seemed to realise that it was all over as the second half was not played at the same intensity.
Only Proto and Cheikhou Kouyaté, in his midfield role, could hold their heads up after the match. Dieumerci Mbokani had one of those nights where you wanted to get on the field and shake him – he did nothing. Having said that, he was faced by two effective centre backs – Demichelis and Weligton – and he got no help whatsoever. Guillaume Gillet was taken to the cleaners several times by Isco – probably no shame in that – while Bram Nuytinck’s distribution was a cause for concern. Kanu was barracked repeatedly by the crowd during the second half and if that continues he could lose his confidence again, especially in home matches.
If the match proved one thing, it’s that La Liga is not just about Real Madrid and Barcelona, and that the level in Spain is far higher than the impoverished Jupiler League. Jean-Marc Bosman has a lot to answer for.
Result: Anderlecht 0 Malaga 3 (Eliseu 2, Joaquin (pen).