Club Brugge began their 2020-21 Champions League campaign with a 2-1 triumph over Zenit St. Petersburg.
Goals from Nigeria’s Emmanuel Dennis and Charles De Ketelaere scored the goals as Philippe Clement’s men silenced the Russian Premier League title holders at Krestovsky Stadium.
The Belgians went into the encounter without goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Cote d’Ivoire’s Odilon Kossounou and Michael Krmencik, who are in isolation after contracting Covid-19, while Simon Deli was unavailable due to suspension.
In a tight first-half that saw Dennis, Mats Rits, Clinton Mata getting cautioned by referee Benoit Bastien, both teams were unable to find the net as they adopted a cautious approach.
Club Brugge’s first chance at goal came in the 30th minute when Dennis found his way in the hosts’ goal area, however, he was unable to find De Ketelaere, who was waiting to slot the ball into an empty net.
In the second half, Zenit came out stronger with Argentina’s Sebastian Driussi trying his luck at goal. Moments later, a tackle from Federico Ricca was needed to prevent Sardar Azmoun from pulling the trigger from close range.
The Belgians took the lead in the 63rd minute after Dennis followed up on De Ketelaere’s blocked shot to slot the ball past goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov.
Eleven minutes later, Zenit got the equaliser as Dejan Lovren’s shot from distance struck the post before rebounding off goalkeeper Ethan Horvath to sail into the net.
With the game heading for a no winner, no vanquished note, De Ketelaere had the final say with a late minute effort thanks to an assist from captain Ruud Vormer.
Angola international Mata was on parade from start to finish while Dennis – who has now scored five goals in the Champions League – was substituted for Senegalese forward Youssouph Badji in the 82nd minute. Noa Lang replaced Krepin Diatta in the 77th minute.
Thanks to this result, Clement’s team lead Group F temporarily pending the outcome of the other fixture between Lazio and Borussia Dortmund.
Club Brugge welcome Lazio to the Jan Breydel Stadium in their next game. Before then, they travel to OH Leuven for their next league tie.