Super Eagles left back Elderson Echiejile will need to step up his game tonight in order to stop Belgian club, RSC Anderlecht from scoring against his French side, AS Monaco opening UEFA Europa League Group J game.
Echiejile and his team touched down in Brussels, the Belgian capital yesterday ahead of tonight’s encounter. The French outfit will be looking to hit form after a poor start to the season has seen them placed eighth in the French Ligue one table with eight points from five matches.
On the other hand, Anderlecht will look to put an end to a grim run of results against French opponents when they welcome AS Monaco FC.
Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition.
• Anderlecht’s record in 18 UEFA games against French sides is W6 D8 L4 (W4 D3 L2 at home – W2 D5 L2 away). They are without a win in their last five encounters with Ligue 1 sides (D2 L3), which include a 5-0 2013 loss to Paris Saint-Germain FC – their equal-worst European home result to date.
• Monaco’s four games against Belgian sides have ended W3 D0 L1 (W2 D0 L0 at home – W1 D0 L1 away). They scored 12 goals in those fixtures – and average of three per game.
Form guide
• Anderlecht have won only one of their last eight European home games (W1 D1 L6).
• Monaco scored just seven goals in their ten-game voyage to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals last season; they have already scored ten in four qualifiers this season.
• Anderlecht made it through to the round of 32 in all four of their previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, most recently in 2011/12.
• Monaco were successful in their only previous UEFA Cup or UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, making it to the round of 32 in 2005/06.
• The journey from Monaco to Brussels is around 800km.
• Monaco’s João Moutinho can make his 100th UEFA club competition appearance in the Anderlecht game; team-mate and countryman Ricardo Carvalho starts this game on 100 UEFA club appearances.
• Anderlecht’s Fabrice N’Sakala (ES Troyes AC), Idrissa Sylla (Le Mans UC 72, SC Bastia) and Guillaume Gillet (SC Bastia) all have French league experience.
• Monaco’s Nabil Dirar (Diegem Sport, KVC Westerlo, Club Brugge KV) and Adama Traoré (R. Mouscron-Péruwelz) have both played in Belgium.
The coaches
• Previously assistant coach, Besnik Hasi took sole command at Anderlecht in 2014. Capped 47 times for Albania, his playing career took off after he came to Belgium in 1994, the midfielder winning a title with KRC Genk and another with Anderlecht, where he returned after ending his playing career at Cercle Brugge KSV.
• Venezuelan-born Leonardo Jardim has been coach of Monaco since 2014. A coach since he was in his 20s, he led SC Beira-Mar and SC Braga in the top division in Portugal, and then tried his luck in Greece with Olympiacos FC before earning a second-placed Liga finish with a young Sporting Clube de Portugal side in 2013/14.

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