Anderlecht’s week went from bad to worse as they followed up their dramatic Europa Conference League exit with a defeat to an out of form KV Mechelen side at home. Two goals from Rob Schoofs and a late winner form David Bates saw the visitors come away with a surprise 3-2 win. The Mauves needed a win to give themselves a chance of European football via the play-offs next season, yet the defeat means they will be missing out on the play-offs and the opportunity to mix it with some of Europe’s best.
Mechelen had little to play for, with their focus entirely on the cup final against Antwerp at the weekend. When Mario Stroeykens scored within 10 minutes of the start, it felt like Anderlecht should be in for a comfortable afternoon. However, Mechelen captain Schoof’s found the net twice within a couple of minutes, his first being in the 40th minute and second in the 43rd as somehow Anderlecht were going into half-time 2-1 down.
They managed to equalise through the evergreen Islam Slimani, but Bates provided the killer blow to ruin any chances the side had of making the play-offs. It caps a disappointing domestic season for the Mauves, who finished in the top four last season, made the cup-final and then parted ways with Vincent Kompany as the board hadn’t felt he hadn’t made enough progress.
Kompany is now taking the plaudits in England for getting Burnley back in the Premier League, while Anderlecht will be having to take calls from a number of clubs interested in their top players. No European football means less income, and for Anderlecht that means they may have to sell the likes of Zeno Debast and Bart Verbruggen if they want to free up funds to improve the squad next season.