RSC Anderlecht maintained their perfect start to UEFA Europa League Group L with a comfortable victory against ten-man SK Sturm Graz.
After a subdued first half, the game sprung into life midway through the second period when Guillaume Gillet's opening goal was followed in quick succession by a red card for Sturm's Thomas Burgstaller. Matías Suárez then grabbed his fifth goal of the competition to seal the visitors' third successive victory.
Anderlecht came into the game as the joint top scorers in the group stage but did not look like continuing their impressive record in the opening half. They did, however, create the first chance of the match when Milan Jovanović's neat pass found Gillet, but his audacious chip from the edge of the penalty area cleared the crossbar.
Against the run of play, Sturm came close to taking lead when Jürgen Säumel's free-kick caused havoc in the visitors' defence, only for Imre Szabics to be unable to get a crucial touch. Anderlecht were more threatening in attack, even if Suárez's volley, comfortably saved by Silvije Čavlina, was the closest they came to forging ahead in the first half.
Darko Bodul and Manuel Weber tested Silvio Proto with long-range efforts after the restart, but just as Sturm appeared to be taking control, it was Ariël Jacobs' side who took the lead. Dieudonné Mbokani's cross was spilled by Čavlina and Gillet was on hand to turn into an empty net.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts just a minute later when Burgstaller received his second yellow for a foul on Gillet. Suárez then doubled Anderlecht's lead with 15 minutes remaining, the in-form forward latching onto Mbokani's incisive through ball and rounding Čavlina before finishing with ease.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.