Esbjerg eye top spot after Standard double

Esbjerg fB 2-1 R. Standard de Liège
Mick van Buren struck twice to down Guy Luzon's visitors and keep the hosts in the hunt for pole position in Group C.

Esbjerg celebrate after Mick Van Buren put them ahead
Esbjerg celebrate after Mick Van Buren put them ahead ©AFP/Getty Images

Esbjerg fB's hopes of topping UEFA Europa League Group C remain alive after Mick van Buren struck twice to help Niels Frederiksen's men complete a double over R. Standard de Liège.

Already guaranteed a berth in the round of 32, the hosts' quest for first place seemed to be ending after Igor De Camargo cancelled out Van Buren's opener. However, the Dutch forward scored his second of the evening with 11 minutes left to make sure his team remain three points behind section leaders FC Salzburg, whom the Danish side meet meet on matchday six in Austria.

Despite having their exit already confirmed, the visitors looked like they had a point to prove and dictated the play early on. Paul-José Mpoku rocketed a shot a whisker over the bar from 30 metres before Mehdi Carcela-González failed to control his strike from the edge of the area. Esbjerg offered little but registered with their first opening on 18 minutes when Emil Lyng's drive at goal deflected into the path of Van Buren who turned in from close range.

Guy Luzon's troops came out with renewed vigour after the restart and Mpoku created the equaliser in the 53rd minute, whipping a low cross from the left to the near post where captain De Camargo prodded in. Van Buren was smartly denied by Yohann Thuram-Ulien shortly after, but the keeper could do nothing to prevent the winner as a cross from the left ricocheted across the box, allowing Van Buren the easiest of tasks of rounding Thuram-Ulien and tapping in.