American Exports: Anderlecht's Sacha Kljestan assists, sees red in Champions League draw at PSG
AMSTERDAM – It was an eventful UEFA Champions League Tuesday for Sacha Kljestan, who artfully set up the opener before being sent off late with a second yellow card in Anderlecht's impressive 1-1 draw at French kings Paris Saint-Germain.
The US midfielder had quite an uneven night in front of 45,000 spectators at the Parc des Princes, which included film star Leonardo DiCaprio. After starting brightly enough, Kljestan closed the first half with a few bad turnovers and a "take-one-for-the-team" booking to stop PSG midfielder Lucas from breaking loose in the 41st minute.
The former Chivas USA ace cleaned up his act over intermission, emerging from the break to work a splendid – if unnecessarily shortened – second half.
On one of several attacking forays up the left side in the middle of the second frame, Kljestan played a give-and-go with Dennis Praet to breach the area. He then served a smart cutback for the onrushing Demy De Zeeuw to net the game's opening goal in the 68th minute. It was the former Chivas USA captain's sixth career Champions League assist and his ninth in all UEFA tournaments overall, both records for an American.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled the hosts level less than two minutes later, and then the Mauves were forced to hang on for the final eight minutes at 10 men after Kljestan halted his own influence by drawing a foolish second yellow for deflecting a PSG pass with his elbow.
Despite notching both their first goal and first point of this year's group phase, Anderlecht remained bottom of Group C. With two matches remaining, they've all but mathematically been elimanated from contention for advancement and stand four points shy of the Europa League parachute. That third place is held by Benfica, who will visit Brussels for Matchday 5 in three weeks.