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Boussoufa puts faith in fairy-tale ending

Midfielder Mbark Boussoufa told "a small miracle" remains possible as his RSC Anderlecht side look to overturn a 5-1 first-leg deficit at home against Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday evening.

All is not quite lost for Anderlecht midfielder Mbark Boussoufa
All is not quite lost for Anderlecht midfielder Mbark Boussoufa ©Getty Images

RSC Anderlecht may have a mountain to climb on Tuesday after losing the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off 5-1 at Olympique Lyonnais, but Ariël Jacobs' players are not throwing in the towel, with playmaker Mbark Boussoufa insisting "a small miracle" remains possible.

Contrasting results
Blown away by a superb OL performance in France, the Belgian giants must now score four goals without conceding in Brussels if they are to reach the group stage for the first time in three years. Last Wednesday's result belied Anderlecht's excellent league form – they sealed a fourth straight success by beating SV Zulte Waregem on Saturday – and has dampened spirits in the camp. "Lyon were much better than us," Boussoufa told "We dropped too deep in the first 20 minutes and didn't play as a team. Perhaps we showed Lyon too much respect, but the first game is over now. It's up to us to learn our lessons."

'A small miracle'
First-half goals from Miralem Pjanić, Lisandro, Michel Bastos and Bafétimbi Gomis left Anderlecht reeling. They improved after the interval, pulling one goal back through Matias Suárez before Gomis netted again, and Boussoufa has drawn encouragement, saying: "There was a big difference between the teams in the first half, but that wasn't the case in the second when we played with more aggression. Maybe Lyon took it easy in the second half, but we still posed them problems," added Belgium's Player of the Season, who scored his fourth league goal in as many games at the weekend. "It was important we got an away goal in Lyon, and while I know you rarely come back from 5-1 in Europe, we need to believe we can produce a small miracle."

Extra spice
The Moroccan international is not the only player keen to prove a point. The rivalry between France and Belgium has added extra spice to the tie and if qualification ultimately proves beyond Les Mauves, they remain determined to restore pride. "We're playing in front of our fans so we have to show them a different Anderlecht to the one that played in Lyon," midfielder Guillaume Gillet told "We can do much, much better at home and hopefully we'll give Lyon a fright, make them work hard at the very least."

'More aggression'
While Gillet had to digest the disappointment of being replaced at half-time, the Lyon mauling was perhaps most difficult to accept for goalkeeper Silvio Proto. "I couldn't do much about the goals," reflected the Belgium No1. "Two shots hit the woodwork and went in. There are nights like that when every shot ends up flying in." Like his team-mates, Proto feels a change in attitude may pose Claude Puel's charges problems in the return match. "We lacked aggression and you can't afford to do that against Lyon," the 26-year-old said. "They had so much space: there were often four Lyon players running at our defence. If we close them down and defend as a team we'll have a better chance."