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Anderlecht stride past Ajax to summit

AFC Ajax 1-3 RSC Anderlecht
Two goals from 16-year-old Romelu Lukaku helped ensure the visitors booked their place in the round of 32 as Group A victors.

Anderlecht stride past Ajax to summit
Anderlecht stride past Ajax to summit ©UEFA.com

RSC Anderlecht took first place in UEFA Europa League Group A after defeating AFC Ajax 3-1 in Amsterdam with the Dutch side progressing as section runners-up.

Lukaku double
The Belgian side stormed into a two-goal lead early on courtesy of headers by the youngest player on the pitch, 16-year-old Romelu Lukaku. Jonathan Legear made it three before the break, Urby Emanuelson scoring a second-half consolation for the hosts. With the teams finishing level on eleven points and having drawn 1-1 on Matchday 2, Anderlecht's superior head-to-head record means they top the section.

Relentless Anderlecht
The visitors started with intent and drew first blood after 13 minutes. Mbark Boussoufa floated in a free-kick from the left and Lukaku rose to head his first European goal. He did not have to wait long for his second. Midway through the half, Legear delivered a deep cross from the right that the precocious Belgian once again nodded in. The lively Boussoufa came agonisingly close himself just before the break, his intended cross from fully 30 metres cannoning off the bar with Maarten Stekelenburg beaten. Anderlecht's relentless pressure paid off again seconds later when the Ajax keeper fumbled Boussoufa's low centre and Legear poked in the rebound.

Emanuelson replies
Miralem Sulejmani set up Siem De Jong soon after the restart but the striker fired over from inside the box. Les Mauves should have extended their lead on 72 minutes, Ondřej Mazuch heading straight at Stekelenburg from close range. Emanuelson then reduced the arrears with a curling effort 13 minutes from time before Dennis Rommedahl hit the post in added time, though the outcome had long since been decided.