BY STEVE MITCHELL
LIVERPOOL RELINQUISH THEIR HOLD ON THE EUROPEAN SUPER CUP ON A FARCICAL NIGHT AT ANFIELD:
Liverpoolâ€™s reign as European Super Cup holders is over after a two leg aggregate defeat to Belgian side Anderlecht. Despite a 2-1 win last night in farcical conditions at Anfield, the European Cup holders were unable to overturn their 3-1 defeat in Brussels two weeks ago.
The man that will make all the headlines, however, is match referee Mr. Rainea who allowed the game to go ahead despite dense fog inside the stadium which made watching almost impossible. Liverpool had to make a change in goal after Ray Clemence picked up an injury in Saturdayâ€™s 1-0 defeat at Bristol City; Steve Ogrizovic deputising for the England international.
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Emlyn Hughes played his first match in front of the Kop for almost two months and was anxious to extinguish the memories of his personal nightmare in Belgium. On 13 minutes, he did just that after latching onto to a shot from Jimmy Case that the Anderlecht keeper Munaron could only parry.
The vast majority inside Anfield would have been unaware that any goal had been scored such was the poor visibility and when the chant of â€œOggie, Oggie, tell us who scoredâ€ went up, the stand-in custodian was probably unable to help either. The fans on the Kop were just about able to applaud two wonderful saves from Ogrizovic as the visitors pushed for an equaliser to cancel out Liverpoolâ€™s strike in the first-leg.
Once again, Terry McDermott was at the heart of everything for the home side as the scene inside Anfield became more like a Dickensian novel with every passing minute. As the half-time whistle sounded, there was still some doubt as to whether the two teams would appear for the second-half but Mr. Rainea declared that the match would be played to a finish.
One more Liverpool goal would put them ahead in the tie and Kenny Dalglish almost obliged, but his effort was brilliantly saved by Munaron. As the home side attacked, gaps were left at the back and the visitors looked dangerous on several occasions.
Then on 71 minutes came the key moment in the tie as Franky van der Elst caught the Redsâ€™ backline napping and after playing a one-two with Rensenbrink, his effort found the back of the net to effectively end the contest.
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Despite the huge task now ahead, Liverpool at least wanted to win the match and five minutes from time, young David Fairclough gave them a glimmer of hope that they could take the contest into extra-time as he latched on to a Dalglish header. Alas for the majority inside Anfield, it was too little too late but all the talk afterwards surrounded the refereeâ€™s bizarre choice to let the game go ahead in the first place.
He offered a reason why in the tunnel when he told reporters that; â€œIt was a very difficult decision to make. I had to think if my linesmen and I would be able to properly control the game and if the spectators would be able to seeâ€.
He continued; â€œBoth these matters were important to me. When I went out before kick-off I decided I could see well enough and so I decided to let the match go ahead. Iâ€™m sorry that the spectators didnâ€™t see too much of the game but I had no thoughts to abandon the game at any timeâ€.
LIVERPOOL: Ogrizovic, Neal, Hughes (c), Thompson, Kennedy R, Hansen, Dalglish, Case, Fairclough, McDermott, Souness
ANDERLECHT: Munaron, van Binst, van Toom, Dusaba, Thissen. Van der Elst, Haan, Coeck, Vercauteren, Geels, Rensenbrink
Referee Mr M. Rainea (Romania)
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