The Brussels-based outfit kept their cool to pip Club Brugge KV and R. Standard de Liège to the championship after a 3-0 win against SV Zulte-Waregem at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium on Friday and, according to Vanderhaeghe, it was no less than his side merited. "All the top sides dropped too many points, but Anderlecht are deserved champions. We collected the most points, scored the most goals, and conceded less than anyone else," said the 36-year-old, who also earned the bonus of a new contract, promised to him upon delivery of the title.
First-half nerves were settled five minutes before the break when Lamine Traoré opened the scoring from Pär Zetterberg's free-kick. Nine minutes into the second half Hannu Tihinen doubled the advantage with a header and the title was secured when Frédéric Dindeleux diverted Michał Żewłakow's cross into his own goal to make it 3-0. With 70 points from 34 matches, Frank Vercauteren's side registered the lowest title-winning points total since Standard prevailed in 1982.
Another Anderlecht veteran, Bart Goor, recognised that his the title win was not as spectacular as it might have been. "We won and that's what counts," he said. "It wasn't always the best football, but it's time to enjoy it now. We will miss Zetterberg, who is a fantastic player."
Former Sweden international Zetterberg is retiring after winning his sixth title with the Brussels side, having returned to the club he first joined in 1987 following spells at R. Charleroi SC and Olympiacos CFP. "It's a shame it isn't title number ten," he said. "It was not easy before the match and it became very emotional. But I was able to concentrate until I was substituted, when I let it all go. If possible, I would have stayed on the pitch for another two hours."
Champions League return
For Anderlecht coach Frank Vercauteren it has been a tough year, including a disastrous UEFA Champions League campaign, but he was pleased his team had prevailed over Club Brugge and Standard. "This is a satisfying end to a year's hard work," he said. "Everyone would love to be in our shoes right now. It feels great. We're already certain of Champions League football, even if we won't be seeded. It has been a tough year, but this feeling makes up for all of that."
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