Spot-on Partizan keep their composure
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
RSC Anderlecht 2-2 FK Partizan
(agg: 4-4, Partizan win 3-2 on pens)
Partizan are through to the group stage for the first time since 2003/04 after a penalty shoot-out victory.
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FK Partizan survived the concession of a two-goal lead on the night to eliminate RSC Anderlecht on penalties and reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the second time.
Cléo headed the visitors in front from a corner on the quarter-hour mark and added his and Partizan's second eight minutes after the break. Yet less than 20 minutes later the Belgian champions were level through goals by Romelu Lukaku and Guillaume Gillet. With no further scoring in regular or extra time the tie was settled by spot kicks, Partizan winning just as they did at Newcastle United FC in 2003/04 when they last reached the group stage.
Knowing they had to score to progress, Partizan began by taking the game to their hosts, and it was no real surprise when they opened the scoring. Ivica Iliev whipped in a corner from the right and Brazilian striker Cléo cleverly flicked the ball beyond Silvio Proto with a deft header. The home side almost equalised five minutes later when Radiša Ilić spilled Mbark Boussoufa's dipping drive, but the ball rolled just wide. Yet it was another 15 minutes before they fashioned another opening, Matías Suárez cutting in from the right and poking his shot a metre past Ilić's right-hand post.
Anderlecht started the second half in a more determined frame of mind, however it was Partizan who doubled their lead eight minutes after the restart. Substitute Aleksandar Davidov's deep cross eluded the home defence and Cléo had the time and space to chest the ball down before knocking it beyond Proto.
Les Mauves et Blancs were soon back in it, however, when Jan Polák's curling centre was subtly headed in by Lukaku, before chances arrived at either end. First, Proto made a point-blank save to deny Nemanja Tomić and then Lukaku's miscued shot was narrowly off target. However, the home support did not have long to wait. With 20 minutes remaining Gillet picked up a pass from Lucas Biglia and rifled a beautiful dipping shot beyond Ilić from outside the box.
With chances scarce in extra time, the tie drifted towards penalties, where Suárez, Biglia and Boussoufa fired their efforts over the bar. Despite Proto saving from Mladen Krstajić and Davidov, Partizan advanced to Thursday's draw, leaving Anderlecht with the consolation of a place in the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.