Kljestan scores as Anderlecht breaks playoff slump

The American midfielder netted the final goal of Anderlecht's 3-0 rout of Lokeren to help his Belgian side remain in line for a UEFA Champions League berth.
U.S. international midfielder Sacha Kljestan scored his third goal of the season Wednesday, helping Anderlecht to a 3-0 victory over Lokeren in the Belgian top-flight playoffs.

Kljestan laced a 23-yard shot under the crossbar to cap the rout in the 37th minute, following goals from Milan Jovanovic and Tom De Sutter. Anderlecht held on for the clean sheet despite going down a man in the 46th minute, when Olivier Deschacht was sent off for a studs-up challenge. The goal was the first since Nov. 11 for Kljestan, who signed a contract extension with Anderlecht through 2016 earlier this year.

Anderlecht, which was winless through the first three games of the 10-game playoff round robin, fortified its place at the top of the table with the win and remains in line to capture the league's automatic entry into the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League group stage. The club is four points clear of Standard Liege and Genk with six games remaining, and the top two teams in the six-team playoff group clinch places in the Champions League. The second-place team must battle through the preliminary qualifying round, though.