Norwegian side Stabæk IF came close to causing a major surprise in the UEFA Cup first round against RSC Anderlecht, but were left to regret missed opportunities as the Belgian outfit held on for an away goals success after winning 2-1 on the night and finishing 2-2 on aggregate.
Despite having taken a 1-0 lead from Brussels, Stabæk did not seek to rest on their advantage and were rewarded with the opening goal of the game after five minutes as Christian Wilhelmsson steered Tryggvi Gudmundsson's corner into the net.
Anderlecht hit back
The goal stunned Anderlecht into a response, with Gilles de Bilde levelling affairs nine minutes later when left unmarked in the penalty area.
With parity restored, Anderlecht seemed content to bide their time and pick their moment to take control of the tie. It was a risky policy and one which the Belgian side almost paid a high price for in the 53rd minute when Gudmundsson's pass found Marel Baldvindsson, but the Icelandic striker dwelt on the ball when presented with a free shot on goal and Anderlecht managed to clear.
Anderlecht coach Hugo Broos decided to make a change by introducing Australian striker Clayton Zane to spice up his attacking options, and the move seemed to have paid an immediate dividend as the visitors took the lead in the 57th minute. Stabæk were unable to cope with an Anderlecht corner and Sherjill MacDonald stepped up to fire the ball into the roof of the net despite protests that there was handball in the area leading up to the goal.
Gaute Larsen sought to make a similar switch by replacing defender Mike Kjølø with striker Thomas Finstad for the final 15 minutes, but as the Norwegian hosts became more desperate, Anderlecht used their experience to ensure their passage into Tuesday's second-round draw.