Last week, Standard stunned the Greeks of Panathinaikos winning 3-1 in Athens. This made the task in the return match in Liège a lot easier, but also sparked fears of underestimation.
But Standard proved they were motivated. Boosted by a crowd of 29,000, the Liège team dominated from the first whistle. Striker Dieumerci Mbokani scored the only goal of the match just before the break, after a nice solo effort (photo on top).
Standard controlled the rest of the match and Panathinaikos never threatened to get back in the match. Captain Igor De Camargo told reporters after the match that Standard played a clever match and that they deserved the win after a strong performance. "The way we played today, I think it is possible to reach the finals", he smiled.
The last time Standard reached the quarter-finals of a European competition, was in 1982. The Liège club will now face Hamburg in the last eight.
Different story in Belgium
Standard will now try and reach the play-off I competition in the Belgian league, on the final day of play of the preliminary competition next Sunday. Standard have to win, and depend on the results of other teams to qualify. The Belgian champions have had a bad season in the domestic league so far.
Anderlecht good, but just not good enough
Anderlecht faced a tougher task before their home crowd. The Brussels team lost the first leg against Hamburger SV of Germany 3-1 last week, and needed at least two goals to qualify. At the same time, Anderlecht also needed to keep a clean sheet, otherwise they had to score even more goals in order to advance.
The first challenge proved no problem: Anderlecht eventually scored four goals. But the second challenge did: Anderlecht made some mistakes in defence, allowing Hamburg to score three.
The final score of 4-3 meant that Anderlecht were out of Europe, losing 6-5 on aggregate. Anderlecht scored through 16-year-old striker and Belgian international Romelu Lukaku (photo), Matias Suarez (converting a penalty), Lucas Biglia and playmaker Mbark Boussoufa.
At a score of 4-2 in the second half, Anderlecht needed one more to advance, but when Mladen Petric added a third for Hamburg, making it 4-3, it was mission impossible for Anderlecht which had already used a lot of energy. Hamburg stay in course for the May 12 final which takes in Hamburg.