GAMES Anderlecht wasn't able to repeat the good performance of last week. Like almost the whole season, it lacked the necessary sharpness to take the lead in the first half. A boisterous Doku received his second yellow card at the end of the first half and with 10 player, Anderlecht couldn't cope with Mechelen.
After two minutes, Joveljic took the ball away from Van Damme and the Serbian could take Anderlecht to the lead, but he placed the ball just wide. Not much later Cobbaut shot beside and Mechelen, who missed Kaya, also had some opportunities but wasn't very dangerous.
Both teams were not always pure in their passing. After 21 minutes Vlap scored nicely on an assist of Murillo, but the Dutchman stood offside. Anderlecht controlled the game, but the play was mainly distributed by the long passes of Kompany. After 36 minutes Van Crombrugge had to be quick for the first time. Bijker shoot in the flight on the goalkeeper of purple and white. Five minutes later, debutant Kabore got the best chance for Mechelen, but Van Crombrugge stood firm.
After 43 minutes referee Visser sent Doku inside with his second yellow card. The quick flank player didn't play bad, but he acted too nervous after his first card en was far too enthusiastic when he wanted to tackle Kabore. Besides, with his first tackle, Doku could have immediately taken the red card.
After the break, Amuzu moved to the left side, but the second half could hardly start worse for Purple & White. Mechelen smelled blood and Hairemens shot hard and low from a long distance the 1-0 against the ropes. Mechelen clearly got a boost because of the goal en pressed Anderlecht away. Anderlecht could handle the pressure a bit, but it was only Zulj who could be dangerous with a free kick. Mechelen created more danger and threatened multiple times from a distance. In minute 72 Mechelen doubled the lead. Vranckx was alert and neatly put the ball in the goal on a corner. Murillo reached the back line, but as usual no one was on the right spot to put the Panamanian's cross in goal. In the last phase of the game, de substituted Bakkali ran free, but he missed his shot completely.
Because of this defeat against direct competitor Mechelen, reaching Play-Off 1 will be a very difficult matter. Anderlecht again missed the necessary sharpness in the first half (Colassin filled this up the last weeks) to score and after Doku was sent off, Anderlecht couldn't get anything done. The midfield also played a poor game again. It suffered a lot of ball loss and Lokonga mainly excelled in being invisible, as he has often been lately.
Anderlecht can keep their chances if it wins his 4 upcoming games, but with this team it isn't that obvious. Moreover, the Mechelen program does not look that difficult and the matches in Play-Off 2 (against Virton, Roeselare or Westerlo) seems to be more and more a reality. Purple & White is now dependent on the results of the competitors.
Source: © Internal source