Former UEFA Cup winners RSC Anderlecht claimed a convincing 2-0 victory at FC Lokomotiv Moskva as their spotless defensive play and brisk counterattacking earned just reward.
The visitors withstood a barrage of attacks in the beginning of each half yet were far more clinical themselves. Matías Suárez, scorer of a matchday one hat-trick against AEK Athens FC, broke the deadlock in the Russian capital on 11 minutes and, after his side had soaked up a great deal of pressure, substitute Dieudonné Mbokani sealed the spoils midway through the second period.
The result leaves Anderlecht three points clear at the Group L summit, whereas Lokomotiv will be forced to reflect on what might have been. The home side were on the front foot from the off but constantly rebuffed either by goalkeeper Silvio Proto or his defence. Then came the sucker punch as the Brussels outfit struck on their first real attack, as Suárez allowed Kanu's knock-down to run across his body before hooking a half-volley past a stunned Guilherme.
The game lost some of its zest after that and, five minutes before half-time, José Couceiro introduced Dmitri Loskov in the hope of restoring it. Indirectly it may have, as Lokomotiv soon came a whisker away from an equaliser via Dmitri Sychev's diving header. The 27-year-old did hit the target soon after the restart, only to be marvellously denied by Proto; Maicon somehow failed to tap the rebound into the empty net.
The Brazilian forward immediately sought to make amends, running past three opponents on the left before delivering to Loskov, whose shot just missed. It was all Lokomotiv but, as in the first half, Anderlecht struck, Mbokani capitalising on hesitancy from Guilherme to head in Lucas Biglia's looping free-kick.