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First-half goals from Bart Goor and Mbo Mpenza gave RSC Anderlecht a narrow 2-1 advantage against SK Slavia Praha after the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie in Belgium.
Last season's Belgian runners-up produced an impressive performance on home soil, and attacked from the opening moments with Goor putting an effort just over and Hannu Tihinen being denied by goalkeeper Matúš Kozáčik. But it took just six minutes for them to make the breakthrough as Goor latched on to Par Zetterberg's long through-ball and beat the offside trap to slide a low shot into the corner of the net.
The Czech visitors tried to respond immediately, and Stanislav Vlček saw a header saved by Anderlecht goalkeeper Daniel Zitka before Patrick Gedeon fired just wide. Slavia did find an equaliser in the 21st minute, however, as Marek Suchý played a smart pass into Lukáš Jarolím, who had time to size up his options before launching a lob over Zitka but under the crossbar.
Jarolím also had a hand in the next goal 17 minutes later, but unfortunately for him and his team it came at the other end. The Czech midfield player's foul on Zetterberg right on the edge of the penalty area allowed Goor to float a free-kick on to the head of Mpenza, and the striker planted a header just inside the post.
Chances at both ends
Anderlecht continued to push forward after the break, with Kozáčik stretching to keep out Goor's low driven shot, but Slavia looked dangerous on the counterattack and Vlček was centimetres away from an equaliser when his attempt from the edge of the area flashed the wrong side of the woodwork.
Anderlecht coach Franky Vercauteren introduced Christian Wilhelmsson and Walter Baseggio in the final stages of the game as he sought to establish a greater cushion for the return on 24 August, and it almost came in the last minute. Ivan Kováč slipped, allowing Serhat Akin a shot on goal, but the Turkish forward fired wide and the Belgian side were forced to settle for a 2-1 scoreline ahead of the second leg.
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