The impressive Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, with a partisan crowd of over 8500, was the setting for a game between two teams of contrasting styles but the same high level of commitment and energy.
From the kick off, Barcelona passed and moved the ball quickly, probing for an opening, looking to switch play and stretch their opponents. Anderlecht looked more reserved, trying to get behind the ball, retain their shape and play a counter attacking game.
With Barcelona having the majority of possession, Samper linking play in midfield, Adama running at defenders on the right and Brian combining effectively with Ebwelle on the left, Anderlecht were at full stretch. However Barca couldn’t create a clear opening against a determined and well organised defence.
It was the Belgian side who almost scored on the stroke of half time when Massimo Bruno, one of three Anderlecht players with 1st team experience, broke from midfield playing the ball into Cabasele, who hesitated long enough for the covering defender to block the strike and concede a corner.
The pattern of the game continued in the second half with neither keeper being seriously tested as Barcelona probed for an opening and Anderlecht waited for their chance to break. They got it in the 75th minute when Kabasele outpaced the defence to retrieve a long through ball where Robert, the last defender, brought the striker down 20 metres out and earned a red card. The resulting free kick failed to trouble Ondoa.
Down to ten men Barca made five substitutions in the final quarter of an hour, but had to settle for a draw. The final whistle drew excited celebrations from the home side who thanked their 8,500 fans for their tremendous support.
The result leaves Barcelona five points clear of Tottenham, who have two games in hand, at the top of Group 1. Click here to see all the group tables.