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Deschacht: Anderlecht beating Spurs in my top five

An Anderlecht player since 2001, Olivier Deschacht rates Thursday's 2-1 Group J triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in Brussels among the "top five" of his 85 games in Europe.

Anderlecht celebrate their equaliser
Anderlecht celebrate their equaliser ©AFP/Getty Images

Olivier Deschacht has been an Anderlecht player since 2001 – and believes Thursday's 2-1 UEFA Europa League Group J defeat of Tottenham Hotspur ranks in the "top five" of his 85 games in Europe.

Spurs beat holders Anderlecht on penalties in the 1984 UEFA Cup final, and all three of these teams' previous meetings had been 1-1 draws before last night, when the atmosphere at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium was more akin to an old-fashioned European Cup knockout tie.

Left-back Deschacht, whose side joined Tottenham on four points in second place in the group, has spent his entire career at Anderlecht, making close to 500 appearances, and was thrilled by the result.

"In two weeks we have to go to Tottenham so we have to stay calm, but we must certainly also enjoy this victory tonight," the 34-year-old told UEFA.com. "They have four Belgian internationals, English internationals as well. And we were able to beat them.

"That is an incredible result, and a match which I will probably talk about for many years to come. Tottenham are a top team and this match might be in my top five European matches."

One of the visitors' Belgian internationals, Toby Alderweireld was naturally more disappointed. "It is always nice to play in Belgium, for me it was the third time playing at Anderlecht," the Spurs defender said. "Lovely fans, lovely atmosphere, so it is always nice to come here.

"We started well, and I think after the early goal we should have led at half-time, but that did not happen. In the second half they were set up better, it was hard for us to create chances and then it can happen that you concede. We came here to win and it's never nice to lose. Obviously we are disappointed but we have to look forward to the next game."

©Getty Images

After Christian Eriksen had struck early, it was Deschacht's fellow Anderlecht stalwart Guillaume Gillet, who restored confidence and parity with a volleyed equaliser. "When receiving a ball like that, most important is not to think too much about what to do," right-back cum midfielder Gillet said.

"I controlled it and had to hit it really hard as [Hugo] Lloris is one of the world's best goalkeepers. It went in well and I am obviously very happy about that. I hope this is the return of Anderlecht on the European stage.

"We dropped some important points at Qarabağ. We needed to win against Tottenham and we did, so we are second now. We now play two away matches which will be difficult but we are confident for the rest of the competition."

It was Stefano Okaka who got the winner with 15 minutes to go, the summer signing from Sampdoria continuing his good form after two weekend goals against Zulte Waregem.

Deschacht concluded: "It's fantastic what Stefano does and that he scored this goal. I am afraid that if he keeps performing like this he might soon leave us. But for now we can only enjoy him being in our team and take profit from that."