RSC Anderlecht secured their first UEFA Europa League Group F points after a dominant performance against AEK Athens FC.
Losses to FC Zenit St. Petersburg and HNK Hajduk Split had made victory imperative for Anderlecht and Mbark Boussoufa opened the scoring on 31 minutes before setting up Romelu Lukaku and Roland Juhász after the break. The result draws Anderlecht level with AEK and Hajduk on three points, six behind Zenit.
Anderlecht, keen to arrest a run of three competitive losses, were facing a side whose new coach Manolo Jiménez had debuted with a 4-0 win at Aris Thessaloniki FC four days ago. AEK were on the defensive straight away and Sacha Kljestan tested visiting goalkeeper Sebastián Saja on 19 minutes while a dangerous Anderlecht cross was headed away by Anestis Argyriou, making his UEFA club competition debut with Cristian Nasuti suspended.
There was a blow for AEK when winger Nacho Scocco, scorer of two goals on Sunday, pulled up with what looked a hamstring injury and left the pitch on a stretcher. The Anderlecht pressure told when Kljestan's effort parried by Sebastián Saja, and Boussoufa turned in the rebound.
The home side continued to press after the break, Lukaku heading a Boussoufa centre just over and on 67 minutes curling a shot narrowly wide. Lukaku soon had his goal, entering the box and shooting in off the post after Boussoufa had intercepted an AEK pass in midfield and sent the striker clear.
Four minutes later centre-back Juhász made it three with a spectacular back-heel volley from Boussoufa's free-kick. At the other end Scocco's replacement, Nathan Burns, was denied by Silvio Proto and Ismael Blanco put the rebound over. AEK will hope to turn the table in the 4 November return.