Esbjerg overcome Standard Liege 2-1 in Europa League
Dutch striker Mick van Buren scored twice to help Esbjerg beat Standard Liege 2-1 in Group C of the Europa League.
Last Updated: 28/11/13 11:04pm
Dutch striker Mick van Buren scored twice to settle a match of little consequence as Esbjerg beat Standard Liege 2-1 in Group C of the Europa League.
After the fourth round of matches, it had been already determined that Esbjerg and Salzburg would go through to the knock-out stages, with Elfsborg and Standard Liege consigned to early exits.
Van Buren ensured the Danes would continue their serene progress and in two weeks' time the top two will duke it out in Austria to determine who goes through as group winners. Salzburg, with five wins from five matches, lead the way by three points at this juncture.
Former Excelsior player Van Buren opened the scoring in the 18th minute and, despite Igor De Camargo bringing Standard level early in the second half, they were denied a share of the spoils by the 21-year-old Dutchman late on.
Esbjerg took the lead against the run of play, with Standard having started brightly but without complementing their build-up play with accuracy in their finishing.
Laurent Ciman, Alpaslan Ozturk, Paul-Jose M'Poku and Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez all failed to test Frederik Ronnow in the home goal, and the sucker-punch was Van Buren's opener, buried low into the right corner from close range after showing tidy control on the edge of the penalty area and turning sharply.
In an open game, the teams traded chances and Van Buren threatened again before half-time, drawing a save from Yohann Thuram-Ulien.
Standard found a leveller in the 53rd minute when Paul-Jose M'Poku crossed from the left and De Camargo converted into the bottom left corner from six yards.
Almost immediately, Van Buren forced Thuram-Ulien to make another save.
Hans Henrik Andreasen also called the goalkeeper into action with a 20-yard strike, while at the other end M'Poku lifted a shot over the bar.
The clincher came in the 79th minute when Kian Hansen, fresh from coming off the bench, crossed from the left and Van Buren found the left corner.
Standard have taken just one point so far in the group, and they made no great fist of seeking a second equaliser, with Esbjerg the team driving forward seeking the game's fourth goal in the closing minutes.