A banner inside the Constant Vanden Stock stadium read: "They shall never pass Kompany and Vanden Borre." In fact, the youthful RSC Anderlecht defence was breached three times by FC Internazionale Milano in a painful learning experience on Matchday 2.
Praise from Davids
Nonetheless, Inter midfield player Edgar Davids was able to understand why some of Europe's leading clubs are casting covetous glances at 18-year-old central defender Vincent Kompany in particular. "For their age Anderlecht played very well," Davids told uefa.com.
Kompany, 16-year-old right back Anthony Vanden Borre and 23-year-old left back Olivier Deschacht are all Belgian internationals. Of the three the pacy, assured Kompany stands out as a real star. Before last week's match, Italian journalists were linking him with a move to Inter when the transfer window reopens in January. Kompany was in jocular mood when the putative transfer was suggested to him. "
If I go to Italy soon it will be on my holidays," he said.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini says signing Kompany is "not a priority". Kompany added: "I know the club don't want to sell me and if that's the case I'm going nowhere." But with coach Hugo Broos admitting that Anderlecht have financial problems, the Brussels club could have their resolve to hang on to Belgian football's brightest prospect tested by a winter bid from one of the continent's rich list.
Comfortable on the ball and with an effortless long stride, Kompany was earmarked for great things from the moment he joined Anderlecht as a six-year-old. Promoted to the first-team squad last season, he made five UEFA Champions League appearances, played several times for Belgium, won a league championship medal and finished runner-up to team-mate Aruna Dindane as Belgium's Footballer of the Year.
Such is his on-field maturity, with unflappable confidence allied to pace, power and an impressive range of passing, that it is easy to forget he still a teenager - and a teenager who is still keen to study. "School definitely plays a role in my desire to stay at Anderlecht," he said. "I want to get my diploma. I didn't try that hard last year and this year it will be difficult to combine studying with Anderlecht and the Belgian national side, but I will give it my best shot."
Growing up, Kompany's heroes were AC Milan greats Franco Barsei and Marcel Desailly. But even those two, like Kompany and Vanden Borre, would have struggled to contain Inter's Brazilian striker Adriano in the mood he was in last Wednesday.
Adriano was irrepressible, breaking down Vanden Borre's side to set up the first goal for Obafemi Martins. Early in the second half a phenomenal leap enabled him to head in Inter's second, the goal that broke Anderlecht's will after their best spell of the game.
A 3-1 reverse means Anderlecht are unlikely to make it out of Group G. Five defeats in the first eleven outings of the season have affected confidence and Broos admits that several players are struggling for form. But where there are still matches to be played there is hope for Kompany and co.
Mbo Mpenza told uefa.com: "We're now going to try and secure third place in the group and a UEFA Cup place. That means we have to win our two remaining home games."
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.