By Marcus Christenson in Brussels
A determined display from RSC Anderlecht saw them overcome the 25th-minute dismissal of captain Glen De Boeck to record their first win of UEFA Champions League Group A as they defeated Celtic FC.
Anderlecht hang on
Aruna Dindane scored the only goal of the game with 20 minutes remaining following an incisive run from winger Christian Wilhelmsson. Celtic threw everything forward in search of an equaliser but Anderlecht hung on for a famous victory.
Ironically, Anderlecht had welcomed back De Boeck after he passed a late fitness test to take his place in central defence alongside promising teenager Vincent Kompany. The midfield player Ki-Hyeon Seol, however, missed out because of a knee injury and coach Hugo Broos opted to play Martin Kolar wide on the left in his place, with Wilhelmsson on the right.
Celtic coach Martin O'Neill saw Chris Sutton, Stanislav Varga and Alan Thompson all recover from injury problems to take their places in the starting lineup.
Anderlecht were the first to threaten and they nearly took the lead after nine minutes when Dindane jinked past Bobo Balde on the right and cut the ball back for the on-rushing left-back Olivier Deschacht, whose swerving shot hit the crossbar. Wilhelmsson collected the rebound and crossed for Ivica Mornar but the Croatian striker failed to get enough power on his header to threaten Magnus Hedman in the Celtic goal.
De Boeck misery
The home side looked in command but their task was made considerably harder after 25 minutes when De Boeck was sent off for a challenge on John Hartson. The home side, however, escaped further punishment as Larsson first hit his free-kick straight at the wall and then headed wide from a good position.
Celtic take the initiative
Celtic, as expected, pushed forward as Anderlecht regrouped, but the home side remained dangerous on the counterattack. Mornar first shot wide from inside the area and then, just before half-time, Stanislav Varga was forced to block a closs-range Dindane shot. At the other end, Sutton sent a powerful effort just over.
The break appeared to have given Anderlecht renewed energy as they began the second half stronger, as Hedman had to be alert to block a Mornar effort while Walter Baseggio saw his fierce drive deflected for a corner. Celtic, meanwhile, created chances of their own and Varga came within centimetres of giving his side the lead in the 50th minute when he connected with a Thompson cross.
Larsson, quiet for long spells, then showed his worth with a run on the right and subsequent cross which only narrowly failed to reach Hartson and Sutton in the area. Mornar, meanwhile, continued to threaten up front for Anderlecht and raced clear to collect a Baseggio pass in the 59th minute, only for his lob over the approaching Hedman to drift wide.
Anderlecht then finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute as Wilhelmsson galloped down the right and crossed for Dindane to steer the ball past Hedman. The Constant Vanden Stock exploded with joy and Anderlecht looked set for an unlikely victory. There were scares, however, as Larsson tested Zitka with a diagonal shot and Liam Miller burst into the area but dragged his shot wide.
The last chance went to Hartson who, with a clear view of goal, failed to beat Zitka, shooting straight at the goalkeeper. The win sees Anderlecht move off the bottom of Group A and leapfrog Celtic ahead of the return match between the two sides in two weeks' time.
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