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AEL hopes hinge on Anderlecht response

With a 2-1 first-leg lead, AEL Limassol FC are just one step away from their first UEFA Champions League qualification but RSC Anderlecht have other ideas as they meet in Brussels.

AEL's Vouho gets in a tangle with Cheikhou Kouyaté during the first-leg win over Anderlecht
AEL's Vouho gets in a tangle with Cheikhou Kouyaté during the first-leg win over Anderlecht ©AFP/Getty Images

AEL Limassol FC are just one step away from a first appearance in the UEFA Champions League as they take a 2-1 advantage to RSC Anderlecht for the second leg of their play-off tie.

• AEL earned their first-leg victory through goals from Dosa Júnior and Rui Miguel, either side of Dieudonné Mbokani's strike for Anderlecht. On their first trip to Belgium, the Cypriot underdogs will be determined to defend that lead but Anderlecht will have other ideas.

Match background
• John van den Brom's Anderlecht can take heart from a run of four wins from their last five European fixtures at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium – including a 5-0 defeat of FK Ekranas in the third qualifying round.

• Anderlecht last overturned a first-leg deficit in Europe in the third qualifying round of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League when they recovered from a 1-0 loss in Lisbon by beating SL Benfica 3-0 at home. Since then, however, they have lost seven successive knockout ties after defeat in the first leg.

• AEL are hoping to follow the lead of compatriots APOEL FC who sprang a succession of surprises en route to last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and they can draw encouragement from their defensive resilience on their travels so far – having earned a 0-0 draw at Linfield FC and a 1-0 victory at FK Partizan.

• The Cypriot champions' progress is all the more impressive bearing in mind that before this season they had lost all five UEFA competition ties they had contested – starting with a 12-0 aggregate defeat by Real Madrid CF in the 1968/69 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round.

• While AEL are looking to make history, Anderlecht's goal is to breathe new life into theirs. The Brussels club have competed in the UEFA Champions League eight times but not since 2006/07, recording four successive failures in qualifying between 2007 and 2010.

• This is AEL's first meeting with Belgian opposition but Anderlecht have played three previous knockout ties against teams from Cyprus, winning them all. In the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round they beat Anorthosis Famagusta FC 4-2 at home with the help of a Jan Koller hat-trick, then drew 0-0 in Cyprus.

• Anderlecht also posted 4-1 aggregate wins against AC Omonia in the 1985/86 European Cup second round and the 1990/91 UEFA Cup second round.

• Anderlecht forward Milan Jovanović is suspended for the second leg following his dismissal in the play-off opener.

Team ties
• Edwin Ouon played in Belgium between 2002 and 2007 where he made a combined 81 appearances for R. Antwerp FC, KV Oostende and K. Beerschot AC. Ouon played five times against Anderlecht, experiencing four defeats before a 2-1 win with Beerschot in his last appearance against them.

• Gilberto made 33 league appearances for K. Lierse SK between 2010 and 2012 before joining AEL. He faced Anderlecht twice during his time in Belgium – a 1-1 home draw and a 4-0 away defeat.

• During his loan spell at Cercle Brugge KSV during the 2010/11 season, Reynaldo suffered a 3-2 aggregate defeat by AEL's domestic rivals Anorthosis Famagusta FC in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League – appearing as a substitute in the first leg and starting the second leg in Cyprus.

• There are two players who have represented both clubs. Former Romanian international defender Tibor Selymes was with Anderlecht (1996–99), and later played for AEL in 2004/05. Ex-Rwanda defender Hamad Ndikumana was with Anderlecht between 2000 and 2002 and also made 36 appearances for AEL during the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons.

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