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Anderlecht tighten Group A tussle

Published: Wednesday 26 November 2003, 0.01CET
RSC Anderlecht 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais Hannu Tihinen's second-half goal wins entertaining game.

Match statistics


Goals scored1
Attempts on target7
Attempts off target2
Fouls committed13
Yellow cards0
Red cards0



P: Played   
Pts: Points   
Last updated: 20/11/2017 15:46 CET
Published: Wednesday 26 November 2003, 0.01CET

Anderlecht tighten Group A tussle

RSC Anderlecht 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais Hannu Tihinen's second-half goal wins entertaining game.

By Marcus Christenson at the Constant van den Stock

Finnish central defender Hannu Tihinen scored the only goal of the game as RSC Anderlecht keep their chances of progress alive on a hugely entertaining game played at a frantic pace.

Close group
They are now level with French champions Olympique Lyonnais on seven points, but ahead on head-to-head record, the same process that keeps them below Celtic FC with FC Bayern München only a point behind.

Three points enough
The visitors knew that a win would take them through to the last 16, but Lyon coach Paul Le Guen was without goalkeeper Grégory Coupet due to a stomach problem and Vikash Dhorasoo because of a virus. However, defender Edmilson and midfield player Juninho Pernambucano returned after missing the 1-0 win against RC Strasbourg on Friday.

Contingency plan
Anderlecht, meanwhile, were forced to play this crucial game without influential striker Aruna Dindane, who was suspended, and coach Hugo Broos opted to off-set the loss by playing midfield man Christian Wilhelmsson up front together with Ivica Mornar rather than bringing in another striker. The decision also meant a rare UEFA Champions League start for Swedish midfield veteran Pär Zetterberg.

Zitka save
It was Wilhelmsson who created the game's first chance as he tested Nicolas Puydebois in the Lyon goal with a left-foot drive within the first minute. Lyon, meanwhile, recovered quickly and Anderlecht goalkeeper Daniel Zitka knew he was in for a busy evening when Florent Malouda's snap-shot forced a save out of him in the 7th minute.

Lyon pressure
After 15 minutes, Sidney Govou took advantage when left-back Olivier Deschacht lost his footing on the slippery surface, but his stinging shot was parried by Zitka. Seconds later, Florent Malouda saw his deflected shot go just wide with Zitka stranded.

Puydebois parries
Anderlecht then created their best chance of the game when Mornar's pouncing strike brought an acrobatic save from Puydebois after Besnik Hasi had won the ball in midfield and Wilhelmsson supplied the cross.

Anderlecht disbelief
Both sides were throwing caution to the wind and going in eager search of that vital opening goal. Péguy Luyindula a could only watch in despair while his shot crashed against the post while, at the other end, Mornar could not believe his eyes when his precise cross was lofted over by Tihinen.

Anderlecht pour forward
The home team started the second half the brighter and Lyon centre-back Edmilson was forced to make an important block after Wilhelmsson had played in Mornar in the 50th minute. Seven minutes later and he nearly found his attacking partner again, but this time his tantalising cross was intercepted by Puydebois.

Home side frustrated
Anderlecht piled on the pressure and Baseggio was the next home player to be thwarted by Puydebois, the Lyon reserve keeper producing a fine save after Wilhelmsson and the impressive Vincent Kompany had combined to set up the captain.

Tihinen atones
But then, when the home fans started to fear the worst, Anderlecht scored. Mornar put in a long, floating cross which the on-storming centre-back Tihinen met with perfection, leaving Puydebois no chance. Lyon threw everything forward and Le Guen put on Eric Carrière and Claudio Caçapa in search of an equaliser – but to no avail.

Last updated: 26/11/03 1.21CET