Anderlecht have begun a tough looking NextGen Series group with a fine 1-1 draw away to FC Barcelona. Coach René Peeters was boosted by the inclusion of the jewel in Sporting’s crown, Dennis Praet, who has already scored this season in both the Super Cup and Champions League qualifiers. Massimo Bruno, who made a brief substitute appearance against Cercle last weekend, and goalkeeper Davy Roef also dropped down from the first-team squad to feature in the much hyped youth tournament.
The visitors took a surprise lead in the 66th minute after winning the ball back in midfield. Praet’s vision and craft sent Alexandre De Bruyn clear down the right. He then found Nathan Kabasele, whose first-time finish at the near post was too good for Barca goalkeeper Ondoa. (1:27:40 in the video above).
Unfortunately, Paarswit could not hold on to their lead as Barcelona forced a deserved equaliser ten minutes from the end. Substitute Toni Sanabria was on hand at the far post to finish high into the roof of the net having been set up by Enguene. (1:41:20 in the video). In truth, given the volume of chances created, a win would have flatted Anderlecht but nonetheless a point constitutes a fine start to the competition.
Dennis Praet, speaking to rsca.be said: “This tournament is a nice chance for us to play against the best sides in our age group and to learn from that. We started to get into the game more after we switched to a 4-3-3 system. Barcelona dominated us in the first half but we still had a few chances ourselves. The Barcelona that we have seen was a very strong team, which played a little like the first-team: with very quick players and lots of movement in midfield. I think that 1-1 is a good result despite the fact that we took the lead and conceded a goal, which we could have prevented.”