American Exports: Kljestan, Anderlecht advance in CL

Sacha Kljestan with Anderlecht

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of RSC Anderlecht

AMSTERDAM – Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan starred in his first start of the campaign on Wednesday, notching a goal and an assist as the visitors advanced to the Champions League playoff round after a 6-0 rout of Lithuanian side Ekranas (11-0 aggregate).

The former Chivas USA man was in the right place at the right time to bury the opener in the ninth minute. Just past the half-hour, Kljestan set up young teammate Dennis Praet for his first career goal, which doubled the lead.

Anderlecht will now be a seeded in the champions' section of the playoff round draw, which takes place on Friday.

The reigning Belgian kings will have a 20 percent shot of facing Bryan Gerzicich and unseeded Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the next round, following their 2-2 tie capper at Neftçi. As the Israeli holders entered the evening holding a four-goal advantage from the home leg, the Los Angeles-born midfielder was given a rare early night after 57 minutes.

Meanwhile, playing without injured winger Josh Gatt, Molde FK bowed out of the tourney with a 1-1 draw at Basel. The Norwegian champs opened the scoring to cancel a first-leg deficit, but Philipp Degen struck 15 minutes from time to give the Swiss hosts a 2-1 aggregate victory.