Hauge strikes as Milan edge 10-man Sparta

Dnipro hold hosts Club Brugge to draw in first leg


Club Brugge were held to a goalless draw against Dnipro in their Europa League quarterfinal first leg encounter at the Jan Breydel Stadion on Thursday.

The closest either side came to scoring was in the 27th minute when Brugge striker Jose Izquierdo found himself through on goal, but Dnipro goalkeeper Denys Boyko kept his composure to save brilliantly when Izquierdo seems odds-on to score.

Yevhen Konoplyanka could have earned Dnipro victory at the death but his angled strike was acrobatically saved by Brugge goalkeeper Matt Ryan, who then denied the winger from close range in time added on.

The return leg takes place in Dnipropetrovsk next Thursday, with Brugge needing only a score draw to reach the last four of a European competition for the first time in 23 years.

Dnipro should have taken an 11th-minute lead but an unmarked Ruslan Rotan blasted over the bar after Valeriy Luchkevych found the Dnipro skipper in the area with a cut-back.

Boyko then stood tall to thwart Izquierdo who found himself one-on-one with the Dnipro goalkeeper shortly before the half-hour mark, while, at the other end, Francisco Silva lunged fearlessly to block a goalbound Yevhen Cheberyachko shot.

Ruud Vormer then very nearly gave Brugge the lead in spectacular fashion five minutes before half-time but his 30-metre strike nestled on top of the goal rather than in it and, after Nikola Kalinic scuffed over the bar at the other end after a goalkeeping gaffe from Ryan, the sides went into the interval level.

Brugge's early endeavour in the second half was almost rewarded when Davy de Fauw evaded his marker but headed Victor Vazquez's corner inches wide of the target with Boyko well and truly beaten.

Cheberyachko's clumsy foul on Lior Refaelov presented the Israel international with the chance to try his luck from the subsequent free-kick but he could not exert enough dip on his effort to give Boyko anything to worry about.

Dnipro midfielder Jaba Kankava let loose from 30 yards but his speculative 68th-minute shot was high and very wide, while his team-mate Leo Matos showed good composure to smother a goalbound strike from Rafaelov moments later.

The Ukrainian side cranked up the pressure in the closing stages and Konoplyanka floated an inch-perfect cross into the Brugge area with 10 minutes left but Rotan could only head straight at Ryan, who followed it up with the save of the match moments later.

Konoplyanka cut in from the left wing and, having turned Vormer inside out, unleashed a ferocious right-foot shot that appeared to have Ryan beaten but the keeper dived desperately to his left to push the ball around his post for a corner.

Ryan then saved with his legs in stoppage time to keep out Konoplyanka's near-post strike after the winger ran clear to almost capitalise on a blistering Dnipro counter-attack.

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