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Standard take Anderlecht inspiration

RSC Anderlecht's victory against Hamburger SV on Thursday has given R. Standard de Liège coach Dominique D'Onofrio reason for confidence against the German side in the last eight.

Standard coach Dominique D'Onofrio
Standard coach Dominique D'Onofrio ©Getty Images

R. Standard de Liège coach Dominique D'Onofrio has taken heart from Belgian rivals RSC Anderlecht's impressive performance against Hamburger SV after being drawn against the German team in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.

Anderlecht gave Hamburg a scare on Thursday when a stirring recovery gave them hope of overturning a 3-1 first-leg deficit. Though the Belgian league leaders' 4-3 win was ultimately not enough to take them through, D'Onofrio saw enough to know HSV are not to be feared as they visit the Hamburg Arena for the first leg on 1 April.

"Initially we would have preferred to avoid a German team, but after Anderlecht's match against Hamburg it seems a winnable draw for us after all," said D'Onofrio whose side knocked out Panathinaikos FC 4-1 on aggregate. "The fact Anderlecht were able to score four goals against Hamburg does say something. German teams are also known to give away a lot of space so we certainly stand a chance. The return on 8 April is in our stadium and we can possibly make the difference then."

Hamburg may have been pushed to the limit by Anderlecht, but midfielder David Jarolím focused only on the achievement of reaching the last eight to keep the dream of playing the final on their home ground alive. "Beating Anderlecht has given the team a new boost," he said. "Last year, we reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals and this season we plan on repeating that. Our fans, who support us so fantastically, deserve that."

Coach coach Bruno Labbadia added: "[Standard] are a team of high quality. They have played in the Champions League and have ousted two top international sides in Salzburg and Panathinaikos. Nevertheless it is our goal to reach the semis. We have a big chance and we plan on capitalising on it."