American Exports: Sacha Kljestan leaves with injury as Anderlecht fall in season opener
AMSTERDAM – Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan was removed midway through the first half with an injury as the defending Belgian champions started their title defense on Sunday with a 3-2 home defeat to Lokeren.
The US international departed in the 25th minute after taking an elbow to the ear from Jordan Remacle – who not only escaped punishment from the ref but, adding insult to injury, netted the match-winner in the 71st minute. Kljestan's absence greatly affected Anderlecht's game until the late going, when skipper Guillaume Gillet saw a potential game-tying spot kick saved by Tricolores netminder Barry Boubacar Copa with nine minutes left.
Typically impenetrable at the Constant Vanden Stock, the Mauves have now won just three of their last eight in the friendly confines, dating back to last season.
In Norway's Tippeligaen, Steve Clark and Hønefoss suffered through a tough day on the road in a 6-1 humbling received from second-place Strømsgodset.
Ola Kamara opened the scoring only two minutes in and, despite being robbed by the Michigan native three times, would go on to claim a hat trick. Clark made six stops in all as Hønefoss remained two points from the safety zone through 17 games.
Finally, Bobby Wood worked a decent 63-minute shift up front as 1860 Munich topped visiting FSV Frankfurt 2-1.
The forward could have notched two assists in the opening phase, but set-up recipient Yannick Stark struck the post in the opening seconds of the match and fellow chance beneficiary Benjamin Lauth flashed a shot just wide in the 19th minute. The home opener win ensured that 1860 will be no lower than 10th after Round 2 completes on Monday.