A superb goal by Anderlecht's Aruna Dindane 18 minutes from time diminished Celtic's prospects of qualifying for the second stage of the Champions' League last night. The Belgian side achieved victory despite playing for more than hour with only 10 men after their captain, Glen De Boeck, was sent off after only 26 minutes.
Celtic's hopes of gaining their first away win in the competition, had been enhanced by the return of Chris Sutton from a hamstring injury - to replace Liam Miller - and the recovery of Alan Thompson and Stanislav Varga from knocks.
Despite Anderlecht's problems, and solitary point before last night in their Group A campaign, they were also sitting on top of their respective league and were boosted by the presence of De Boeck in defence. The veteran passed a fitness test following an ankle injury. He was partnered by the youngster Vincent Kompany instead of Hannu Tihinen, who was on the bench after a lengthy injury lay-off.
The Anderlecht defence were under pressure early on. From Neil Lennon's free-kick, Henrik Larsson spun off John Hartson and received his pass, but his cross was well cut out by the goalkeeper Daniel Zitka. But Anderlecht came within inches of taking the lead in the ninth minute with their first purposeful attack of the game. Olivier Deschadt exchanged passes with Dindane and curled a right-foot shot past Magnus Hedman, but could only watch as the ball bounced off the crossbar.
De Boeck was shown the red card for a second bookable offence, John Hartson reacting theatrically to a foul which followed a reckless challenge from behind on Henrik Larsson. Shortly before the interval Larsson had calls for a penalty turned down when Deschadt seemed to send him sprawling in the area before Sutton hit a right-foot shot off target.
Dindane showed why he has been linked with a move to Manchester United. In the 72nd minute, when Christian Wilhelmsson crossed to the edge of the penalty area, he coolly steered the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Anderlecht: Zitka; Deschadt, De Boeck, Zewlakow, Baseggio, Kolar, Hasi, Wilhelmsson, Mornar, Dindane, Kompany. Substitutes: Peersman, Vanderhaeghe, Hendrikx, Zetterberg, Tihinen, Traore, MacDonald.
Celtic: Hedman; McNamara, Balde, Sutton, Varga, Agathe, Petrov, Lennon, Thompson, Larsson, Hartson. Substitutes: Douglas, Gray, Sylla,Valgaeren, Maloney, Kennedy, Miller.
Referee: Fritz Stuchlik (Austria).