Anderlecht have claimed their first win of the Belgian First Division playoffs, defeating Lokeren 3-0 despite a second-half red card.
Serbian winger Milan Jovanovic led the way for Anderlecht on Wednesday, scoring the opening goal in the fourth minute and setting up the second as the Brussels-based club leapt out to a 3-0 lead at half-time.
Despite losing full-back Olivier Deschacht in the opening minute of the second half, Anderlecht kept visiting Lokeren scoreless after the break, to end a four-game winless streak and extend their lead at the top of the championship playoffs to four points.
Some fans had barely taken their seats at Anderlecht’s Stade Constant Vanden Stock as Jovanovic gave the hosts the lead, heading home from close range after a right-wing cross from Massimo Bruno.
On the half-hour mark, Anderlecht made it 2-0 as Jovanovic turned provider, curling his cross onto Tom De Sutter’s head and the 27-year-old striker flicked the ball past Lokeren goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.
Anderlecht struck again seven minutes later when central midfielder Sacha Kljestan strolled into the box before lifting his shot over Barry but the game changed just after the break when Deschacht’s sliding challenge on Lokeren substitute Jore Trompet saw the home side reduced to 10 players.
Despite their one-man ascendency, however, Lokeren were unable to get on the scoreboard and Anderlecht held on for the victory.
Wednesday’s result has taken Anderlecht to 39 points in the championship playoffs’ standings with Standard Liege in second on 35.
Genk are third, also on 35 but behind Standard on goal difference, with Zulte-Waregem (34 points), Club Brugge (31) and Lokeren (27) completing the table.