Nmecha-Mukairu double act not enough for Anderlecht

Lukas Nmecha, Mustapha Bundu and Paul Mukairu of Anderlecht
The Belgian giants were held 2-2 away at Zulte Waregem on Friday evening

Encouraging displays by Manchester City loanee Lukas Nmecha and Paul Mukairu weren’t enough for Anderlecht to avoid dropping two points away at Zulte Waregem on Friday.

Nmecha equalised for Vincent Kompany’s side just before half time, when he was set up after a decent assist from Mukairu, after Senegal’s Ibrahima Seck had opened the scoring for Zulte eight minutes into the contest.

While Congolese midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga put Anderlecht ahead in the 65th minute, the visitors weren’t able to hold onto their lead—and all three points—when Gianni Bruno equalised for the hosts 15 minutes from time.

Failure to win means that seventh-placed Anderlecht have now gone four games without victory in the Belgian top flight, and they’ve taken just three points during that risible run.

The consequence Is that they’re falling well off the pace in the title race, and now find themselves five points behind Genk—who have won their last six matches—and could move eight points clear of Kompany’s side with victory over Royal Antwerp on Sunday.

Despite Anderlecht’s struggles, Nmecha has been in fine form so far this term, scoring six goals in 12 outings for the domestic giants.

It’s the striker’s best ever return during a league season in his career to date, already eclipsing his previous best of four—registered with Preston North End—during the 2018-19 season.

The Man City loanee was originally signed by the Premier League heavyweights in 2007, but has only made two league outings for the Sky Blues amidst several loan deals.

As well as time with Preston and now Anderlecht, the 21-year-old has represented both Wolfsburg and Middlesbrough.

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Despite representing England at youth level from U-16 to U-21 level, Nmecha has also featured for Germany’s U-21 team, and remains eligible for Nigeria’s Super Eagles.

Abuja-born Mukairu is in his first campaign with Anderlecht, having moved on loan from Antalyaspor earlier this year.

The 20-year-old is a graduate of the FC Hearts Academy, and has impressed so far with Sporting this term—scoring once and contributing two assists in his five appearances to date.