American Exports: Sacha Kljestan nets opener as Anderlecht edge closer to Belgian title
AMSTERDAM – Sacha Kljestan bagged the opener as Anderlecht moved closer to a Jupiler League title repeat with a 4-2 win at Lokeren on Thursday.
The former Chivas USA man applied a back post finish to a 25th-minute free kick to notch his third goal in nine career meetings against the Tricolores. Kljestan also pitched in with a crucial set-piece clearance well before Lokeren chipped into a four-goal deficit with a pair of late strikes.
The Mauves maintained their two-point tabletop cushion over Sunday's closing day visitors Zulte Waregem, meaning a draw or win will secure Kljestan & Co. the title, while a Zulte win will see them clinch the title.
To the north in Denmark, Conor O'Brien came on at halftime as FC Nordsjælland fell 4-0 at Brøndby.
The Wild Tigers are already assured of the Superliga's second Champions League invite, despite winning just once in their last six. Meanwhile, the home side – who did not dress US call-up Clarence Goodson – stand two points above the trap door ahead of the final game of the season.
Elsewhere, Charlie Davies came on late to help Randers FC net an 89th-minute home winner to down already-clinched champions FC Copenhagen. The victory ensured both third place and a Europa League playoff-round pass for the Horses.
A ferry ride away in Norway, Mikkel Diskerud set up the opener in Rosenborg's 4-2 win over visiting Sarpsborg 08. Aside from actively helping the hosts hold 65 percent of the ball, the US international deftly played Nicki Bille Nielsen in for the first of his three goals just past the half-hour. The result kept the Troll Kids in second place, three points off the Tippeligaen lead.
Hønefoss backstop Steve Clark needed only two saves to post his first league shutout since opening day in a 0-0 stalemate at Viking. With only a single win in the nine games since then, the visitors dropped to 13th place.
The miserable season start continued for Josh Gatt and two-time defending champs Molde FK with a shocking 5-1 loss to rude guests FK Haugesund. It was a relatively quiet outing for the young winger, while his basement side suffered its worst home defeat since 1995.
Finally, in the Netherlands, Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport took a 4-2 knock on the chin in the home leg of their first-round promotion/relegation playoff tie with Sparta Rotterdam. The teams head west for Sunday's return at Het Kasteel, where HS have logged three victories large enough to enact an advancement rally in their last nine visits.