Grab a point at Club Brugge while you have not shot on goal once: you just have to do it. Anderlecht kept Club Brugge 1-1 in Jan Breydel, while blue-black was a few sizes too big in all areas. But Club killed chance after chance. The drama completely unfolded when Mechele unfortunately worked the ball into his own goal. Blauw-zwart could not win in the competition since October 29 (!).
Club Brugge-Anderlecht, or number four against eleventh in the standings. Despite those skewed ratios in the standings, the interests were great on Sunday. Club is still fighting for the Champions Play-offs under new coach Scott Parker, and could therefore only be happy with three points. In addition, icon Ruud Vormer came to celebrate: he was allowed to kick off and was thanked with a big tipo and thunderous applause. It was a bit symbolic that Vormer was allowed to wave goodbye to his fans against Anderlecht. The Purple & White then needed points to stay out of the sights of the relegation teams. It’s come this far.
While Vormer and co used to wipe the floor with the rival from Brussels, it was again a lot more difficult on Sunday. Club lacked confidence. The ball back was chosen more often than an action, the sloppiness was more the rule than the exception. And yet a few good chances were also played together. Yaremchuk saw a great opportunity taken by Verbruggen after ten minutes, Lang also tried after Sardella missed. Anderlecht were nowhere and stayed far away from Mignolet’s goal.
An uninspired topper seemed in the making. Fortunately, there was another standing ovation for Vormer in minute 25: a bit of life in the brewery. Towards the break, Club went even more emphatically in search of a goal. Buchanan threatened twice from the right, and when an effective goal was scored, the party was cancelled. Yaremchuk was sent off well by Vanaken and served Lang, who finished cleanly. In the end, it turned out that Yaremchuk was centimeters offside. The Ukrainian, still looking for himself, could use a mental boost though. He tried so often to do good, but remains too impure at the moment.
Wait until minute 68
Even after the break it was still waiting for Club to finally make that first. Anderlecht declined. First Yaremchuk tapped a sharp free kick from Nielsen just over target, then Vanaken headed a standard situation narrowly wide. And Nielsen was also allowed to give it a try. A flowing combination was tapped to the Danish midfielder. He wanted to print and hit the ball completely wrong. Even when Vanaken cut himself free at two meters from goal, another Brussels resident was in the way. The pressure simply became unsustainable for Anderlecht: it was not necessary. And in minute 68 it was still hit. Buchanan was sent deep again and sprinted towards the back line. He delivered a tight cross to Nielsen, who only had the ball to walk in. Jan Breydel exploded and breathed a sigh of relief at the same time.
The final quarter started, and suddenly there was now some Purple & White threat. Trebel’s substitution played a significant part in this. Suddenly the unthinkable happened: an equalizer, and that in a very silly way. A weak cross from Arnstad was badly hit by Mechele, and the ball rolled past Mignolet in the corner. Zero shots on target, but still a goal for Anderlecht: you had to be there to believe it. Club Brugge suddenly had only ten minutes left to win again. By the way, that was from October 29 (!) ago in the competition. To put together a real final offensive, the national champion turned out to be just too excited. It didn’t work anymore. Rits and Nusa were still brought, but those switches did not bring any results.
So Scott Parker is still waiting for his first victory as coach of Club Brugge, which already sees Genk 17 points ahead. The national title – even with play-offs – just becomes unrealistic. The point for Anderlecht will be especially good mentally. But whether coach Riemer will be content: that is another matter.