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2014/15 UEFA Europa League, 2014 First Round
  • Felipe Gedoz (28' PEN)
  • Lior Refaelov (88')
  • Macoumba Kandji (51')

Club Brugge 2-1 HJK Helsinki

Club Brugge secured their place in the Europa League knockout stages as Group B winners after Lior Rafaelov's late goal earned them a 2-1 victory against HJK Helsinki on Thursday night.
Felipe Gedoz put Brugge in front from the penalty spot shortly before the half-hour mark at the Jan Breydel Stadium, but Helsinki were on level terms early in the second half when Macoumba Kandji headed home.
Second-half substitute Rafaelov earned all three points for the Belgian side two minutes from time when he angled a left-footed shot past Helsinki goalkeeper Antonio Doblas to send his side into the round of 32 as group winners.
The last-gasp victory meant Brugge finished first in Group B with 12 points from their six matches, while Torino also qualified in second place after they hammered Copenhagen 5-1.
Brugge boss Michel Preud'homme made four changes to the side that beat Warejem in the Belgian Pro-League on Sunday, with Francisco Silva, Victor Vazquez, Jose Izquierdo and Lior Rafaelov making way for Nikola Storm, Gedoz, Fernando Menegazzo and Sander Coopman.
Helsinki wrapped up their sixth straight Finnish Veikkausliiga title in October and, with their domestic season over, they had not been in action since their 2-1 Europa League victory against Copenhagen a fortnight ago. Manager Mika Lehkosuo made two changes to that side with Anthony Annan and Rasmus Schuller in for Teemu Tainio and Nikolai Alho.
Helsinki had the first decent chance of the match in the ninth minute when Erfan Zeneli found himself unmarked inside the penalty area, but Brugge goalkeeper Matthew Ryan collected his shot comfortably.
Brugge responded with efforts from Timmy Simons, Menegazzo and Coopman, with the former seeing his shot blocked and the latter two missing the target from long range.
The Belgians took the lead in the 28th minute when Gedoz thumped home from the penalty spot after Helsinki defender Valtteri Moren could only halt Storm's run into the penalty area by tripping the midfielder.
Doblas had be alert to tip a stinging Storm effort around the post in the closing stages of the first half but, try as they might, Brugge could not double their advantage before the half-time interval.
Brugge were left to rue their wayward finishing when Helsinki levelled six minutes into the second half. Striker Macoumba Kandji powered a header past Ryan from close range after he was picked out by Robin Lod with an inch-perfect right-wing cross.
Neither side could exert their dominance in the ensuing minutes after Helsinki's equaliser before Lehkosuo blinked first by sending Roni Porokara on for the ineffective Zeneli shortly after the hour mark.
Preud'homme responded by replacing Menegazzo, Coopman and Tom De Sutter with Rafaelov, Vazquez and Obbi Oulare and it was Rafaelov that earned victory for his side at the death when his guided strike from 12 yards out found its way into the net.
ends