None expected AEL Limassol to lay down its weapons in the first leg played in Cyprus, but the 2-1 victory over Anderlecht was a surprise. The Belgian side won the previous round by scoring eleven goals and conceding none, and their lack of efficiency upfront was unexpected. Nothing is lost though and the decisive game will be played in Brussels where the hosts need a narrow margin victory to move further.
Bet: Anderlecht -1,5 goals
Odds: Bet365 2.35
RSC Anderlecht can’t afford to concede a goal, but it’s most unlikely for them to play a defensive minded football and wait for their opponents to commit a mistake. Van den Brom said before the match that his players must keep their calm and not panic despite losing the first leg. He also expressed his intention of sending in a more offensive team with Mbokani, Kanu and Yakovenko upfront. These three players scored a total of six goals this season and they will keep the AEL Limassol under constant pressure.
Anderlecht can’t settle for a 1-0 victory
Each time the Belgians tried to defend at home things went terribly wrong and their latest Champions League campaign was a complete disaster. This time they don’t encounter some of the best European teams, but an inexperience squad that will most likely crumble if the hosts score early. Limassol is well organized defensively and will not make any amends in the team that brought them the victory in the first leg. Vouhu will be the only striker for the Cypriots, but he needs to play better than he did in the first leg if he is to stand a chance.
Both goals scored by AEL came from defensive minded players, with a midfielder and defender scoring against Anderlecht. Furthermore, Luciano Bebê and Paulo Sérgio will miss tonight due to injuries, but this shouldn’t affect Charalampos Christodoulou’s strategy as he plans on strengthening the defense. The hosts have a single absentee tonight, but Jovanovic will be missed as he was suspended after receiving another yellow card in the previous round.
Anderlecht need to take an early lead and keep the ball moving quickly if they are to outmaneuver the rather static defense that AEL relies on. The hosts are glad to be playing on a perfect pitch, as they have expressed their discontent about the field in Cyprus, and having a packed stadium cheering for them will surely help. Bet365 is not very generous with the odds for a straight victory, but things change for the better if the punters are willing to take their chances and back the hosts to cover the -1,5 spread.