RSC Anderlecht preserved their excellent record of never having lost to a French club in European competition by beating FC Girondins de Bordeaux 2-0 in their UEFA Cup third round first-leg encounter at the Chaban-Delmas stadium, thanks to an early goal by Nenad Jestrovic and one in added time from substitute Besnik Hasi.
Anderlecht in charge
The late goal put the Belgian club firmly in charge of the tie, and Anderlecht, with two away goals in the bag, will now be confident of progressing to the fourth round. "I'm very satisfied," said winning coach Hugo Broos. "The match came close to being tactically perfect, because we had just three chances and scored two goals. In that respect it was the perfect game."
The first half kicked off in a torrential downpour, but, with both sides fielding attacking lineups, the action came thick and fast. Anderlecht certainly had the better start and looked composed going forward; Aruna Dindane was a particular threat on the right.
But it was from the other flank that the visitors took the lead. Ki-Hyeon Seol seized on a quick free-kick on the left flank before curling a cross to the near post, where Jestrovic met the ball with a neat volley past Ulrich Ramé with only nine minutes gone.
Tihinen goes close
Ten minutes later, Anderlecht should have struck a second when Walter Baseggio curled in a typically accurate free-kick from the right flank. Seol and Hanu Tihinen shook off their markers, but seemed to get in each other's way with the goal at their mercy. Eventually, Tihinen hit a half-hearted effort wide.
This reprieve seemed to spark Bordeaux into life, and, thanks to the heroic efforts of captain Christophe Dugarry, they managed to take control of the game towards half-time. Pauleta proved elusive and Dugarry used the ball intelligently from deep, but Glen de Boeck showed great awareness to keep his back four organised. Jean-Claude Darcheville's vicious 25-metre free-kick went closest for the hosts, curling narrowly wide.
Anderlecht kept their nerve up to the break despite a tempestuous last few minutes in which three players were booked. The second half then continued as the first had ended, with Darcheville especially lively. On 53 minutes, Darcheville sent the ball thumping against the bar with a free-kick from 25 metres, before, four minutes later, hitting the ball across the face of goal after being played expertly through by Eduardo Costa.
Ultimately, Bordeaux's pressure failed to pay off, as Anderlecht goalkeeper Daniel Zitko refused to be beaten. Indeed, as the game neared its close, the visiting side looked more likely to score. Seol, left on his own up front in the closing stages, nearly got the goal his tireless efforts deserved, but was denied by a smart save from Ramé.
The second goal did eventually arrive in the first minute of added time. Anderlecht burst forward on the counterattack, Dindane swept the ball across to Marc Hendrikx, whose clever pass worked space for fellow substitute Hasi. The Albanian midfield player smashed the ball firmly past Ramé and into the goal to leave Bordeaux with a mountain to climb in the second leg. Indeed, even home coach Elie Baup admitted "
It will take a miracle for us to qualify for the next round".