Club sends off Salzburg 2-1
Club Brugge beat FC Salsburg 2-1 in the first leg of the 1/16th final of the Europa League. The Austrian outfit opened the scoring via Junuzovic, but second-half goals by Denswil and Wesley ended Salzburg unbeaten run of 31 matches in alle competitions.
Ivan Leko made two changes to his starting line-up compared to last Sunday. Dion Cools and Emmanuel Dennis came on to play on as winger, Clinton Mata and Krépin Diatta had to settle for the substitutes' bench. Amrabat played on the right-hand side of Leko's three-men defence again, Mats Rits patrolled the midfield.
The match started lively with an effort from Vormer in the opening minute, but the Dutchman's shot went wide. The visitors responded but Horvath was equal to Wolf's attempt. Despite the poor state of the pitch, Club created a good chance after fifteen minutes play. Wesley just couldn't reach Vormer's cross and Dennis fired the rebound into the hands of Walke. Instead of scoring, Club conceded a few minutes later. Januzovic was sent through on goal and lobbed Horvath, who had slipped trying to return to his goal.
A difficult moment for Club to concede so quickly, but the blue and black rolled up their sleeves to get back into the game. Dennis and Vormer saw their shot blocked, Walke saved attempts by Vanaken and Mechele. But Salzburg handled the pressure easily and were close to scoring a second time in the closing minutes of the first half. Samassékou picked out the unmarked Ramalho inside the box, but he missed. Januzovic aimed his rebound too high. Gulbrandsen and Ramalho again forced Horvath into making a good save.
Ivan Leko intervened at the break by replacing Amrabat and Cools with Poulain and Diatta. The double substitution gave the blue and black a boost. Just after the start of the second half Dabbur had to clear Poulain's header on the goal line and Rits tested Walke again. Dennis had the best chance for Club on the hour mark but he slammed the ball against the bar.
But Club got the well-deserved equalizer a few minutes later. Vormer's corner kick was headed in by Stefano Denswil, via the inside of the post. Salzburg almost immediately restored their lead but Horvath saved Dabbur's header and Wolf's shot was blocked with a good tackle. On the other side of the pitch Wesley fired the ball on goalkeeper Walke.
Club increased the pressure and took the lead with ten minutes ont he clock. Dennis' cross took a deflection and Wesley could head the ball into the far corner. During the intense last minutes of the game Horvath was needed to save Daka's shot, while Wesley almost tapped in Dennis' cross after powering through the Salzburg defence.
Club beat Salzburg 2-1 and end their unbeaten run of 31 matches. Next week Club Brugge travel to Austria to try and ensure the qualification to the next round.
UEFA Europa League – 1/16th final
Attendance: 17.000 – Jan Breydelstadion
Referee: Georgi Kabakov (Bul)
Club Brugge: Ethan Horvath – Sofyan Amrabat (46’ Benoît Poulain), Brandon Mechele, Stefano Denswil – Dion Cools (46’ Krépin Diatta), Ruud Vormer, Mats Rits, Hans Vanaken, Emmanuel Dennis – Siebe Schrijvers (79’ Loïs Openda), Wesley Moraes. Bench: Karlo Letica, Kaveh Rezaei, Marvelous Nakamba en Clinton Mata. Coach: Ivan Leko.
FC Salzburg: Alexander Walke – Stefan Lainer, André Ramalho, Marin Pongračić, Andreas Ulmer – Xaver Schlager (76’ Enock Mwepu), Diadié Samassékou, Hannes Wolf (89’ Patson Daka), Zlatko Junuzović – Fredrik Gulbrandsen (84’ Takumi Minamino), Munas Dabbur. Coach: Marco Rose.
Yellow cards: Schlager, Vormer, Vanaken, Ulmer, Wesley, Lainer.
Red cards: none
Goals: 17’ Junuzović (0-1), 64’ Denswil (1-1), 81’ Wesley (2-1).
Report - Steven Floin