A dramatic late strike from substitute Jonathan Legear sealed an unlikely point for ten-man RSC Anderlecht against AFC Ajax in Brussels, ensuring the Belgian side hold on to top spot in Group A.
Van Damme dismissal
The 1983 UEFA Cup winners had won all four previous home games against Dutch opposition, although they will not mind losing their perfect record in such fashion. After Dennis Rommedahl had deservedly put the visitors ahead on 72 minutes, Anderlecht hit back with five minutes remaining – despite having lost Jelle Van Damme to a red card just moments earlier. Romelu Lukaku's superb overhead kick was saved by Maarten Stekelenburg yet Legear reacted quickest to smash the rebound home.
Ajax had dominated the opening stages, but if the four-time European champions were passing with the kind of precision that evoked fond memories, their finishing fell below par. Luis Suárez was initially unfortunate to see his excellent volley cleared off the line by Bakary Sare, but the Uruguayan should have done better than head straight at Silvio Proto moments later, before missing a bigger chance still on 17 minutes. After Proto had parried another Demy de Zeeuw drive, Suárez pounced but sliced the rebound over.
Ariël Jacobs' team stirred on 20 minutes, Van Damme’s header over sparking the first spell of home pressure. Stekelenburg won his duel with Lukaku before Van Damme missed another chance to register against his former club, flicking Matías Suárez's cutback past a post on the stroke of half-time. The introduction of Rommedahl and Legear changed the game, the Danish winger first smashing home Suárez's cross to leave Ajax on the brink of victory. However, after Van Damme's dismissal for a shove on De Zeeuw, Legear and Anderlecht had the final word.
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