Evening the Score

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 13, 2018 15:10

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Evening the Score

By Satish Sekar at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium © Satish Sekar (May 10th 2018)

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Barring a series of highly improbable results, RSC Anderlecht’s 1-3 loss to Ricardo Sá Pinto’s Standard de Liège this afternoon has dropped out of contention for Belgium’s Pro League title. All the goals – a brace by Edmilson Junior Paulo da Silva (48 and 78) sandwiching Renaud Emond’s for Standard (51) and Łukasz Teodorczyk (63) pulling one back for the hosts – came in the second half. But the ‘star’ of the match was referee Bart Vertenten.

In the last round of Play-off Group 1 matches Bruges lost controversially to Anderlecht. Both the referee – also Vertenten – and VAR failed in that match over a penalty and an offside. Anderlecht benefited against Bruges and in other matches, but it was a totally different story today. Vertenten gave Anderlecht next to nothing, resulting in a few yellow cards for dissent.

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Anderlecht’s coach Hein Vanhazenbrouck’s only complaint about the officiating was that he thought Vertenten was “inconsistent,” awarding a yellow card to his player but not to an opponent for the same offence.

His opinion was charitable. Just before Edmilson Junior put the match beyond Anderlecht with the third, vociferous appeals for a penalty for handball against teenager Lindon Selahi, were turned down. That led to a quick break by Edmilson Junior and Mehdi Carcela. The latter squared it to take Anderlect’s keeper Matz Sels out of the game and give Edmilson Junior an easy tap-in after 78 minutes.
Just over a minute into the second half a corner conceded by defender Konstantinos Laifis’ header from Lazar Marković’s testing cross was wasted. Standard de Liège quickly turned defence to attack and Edmilson junior outpaced his defender. He slotted it in to Sels’s right to give Standard the lead after 48 minutes. Three minutes later Renaud Emond squeezed it in at the far post from a tight angle on the right – Sels ought to have done better.

A goalmouth scramble after Marković got to the line and squared in for Pieter Gerkens to shoot. His shot rebounded to Teodorczyk who bundled it in. Fifteen minutes later the ‘handball’ incident and breakaway occurred, raising the ire of Anderlecht fans further – they already felt the officials were against their team.

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Frustration

Anderlecht had the better of the first half – Sá Pinto acknowledged that – but they failed to convert their chances. Just 6 minutes into the match Łukasz Teodorczyk illustrated the point, remonstrating with Kenneth Saief for shooting wide and high from a worse angle when he was better placed – he had a point.

After 13 minutes Lazar Marković won the opportunity to open the scoring but blasted over from close range. Ten minutes later Saief squared for Teodorczyk, but he fluffed his shot, and failed to test Méxican international Guillermo Ochoa Magaña. Three minutes earlier Teodorczyk turned provider after lovely turn to make space to cross, but Ryota Morioka blasted over from near the penalty spot. Anderlecht were profligate and continued to spurn chances.

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As the half was drawing to a close a very bad foul by Ngoran Fai Collins left Sven Kums crumpled in a heap. Vertenten not only gave no foul, but Standard continued their attack. Sels eventually put the ball out. Kums needed attention. After consultation Vertenten showed Fai the yellow card. Kums was booked for a ‘retaliatory foul on Carcela in added time.

Five minutes after pulling one back Anderlecht could have had another. Marković wended his way into the penalty area. He skipped past his defended Luis Pedro Cavanda, who fell over and handled it. Marković appealed for a penalty, but Vertenten gave a free-kick the other way. It looked bizarre and VAR was not consulted. Olivier Deschacht got a talking to from Vertenten for his protests.

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Shortly afterwards substitute Pieter Gerkens pulled his shot wide when well-placed and Teodorczyk’s header was well saved by Ochoa Magaña. With less than 5 minutes remaining Emond won possession but hit the crossbar with Sels well beaten – he really should have scored.

In added time a frustrated Anderlecht fan threw a flare onto the pitch. Ochoa used the incident to waste time. Teodorczyk ran to the area and threw the offending object off the pitch. It was too late.

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After the match Sá Pinto acknowledged that Anderlecht had had the best of the first half, but felt that his team deserved to win. On the penalty appeal, he said: “Didn’t see incident.”

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar May 13, 2018 15:10