Belgian champions Club Brugge KV booked a place in the group phase of the UEFA Champions League with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory against Norway's Vålerenga IF.
Victory was sealed for the home team with a decisive spot-kick from Boško Balaban - who had earlier scored the goal which took the match into extra time and then a shoot-out. For the visiting side, who had Kjetil Waehler sent off late in the 90 minutes, substitute Bernt Nicolai Hulsker and Freddy Dos Santos both had penalties saved by Tomislav Butina while Brugge replacement Gregory Dufer also missed.
Vålerenga, aiming to make their group stage debut, had taken a 1-0 lead into the second leg after a win in Norway earned by their striker Steffen Iversen. But it was Brugge that started well tonight and after two minutes captain Gert Verheyen forced Árni Gautur Arason to make a save from ten metres out.
However, Vålerenga could have got a killer away goal five minutes later had Daniel Holm's header found the target. Arason was being kept busy and after 35 minutes he saved well when he foiled Ivan Leko from a goalmouth scramble while a minute from half-time Gaëtan Englebert's shot went wide.
In the second half Arason denied Englebert and Balaban, but the Croatian then levelled the tie when he finished off a fine move, converting Dufer's cross after the substitute had been released by Joos Valgaeren.
The balance tilted further towards Brugge when Waehler was dismissed for aiming a blow at Verheyen, leaving Austrian referee Konrad Plautz little option but to show him the red card. Arason made a save from Dufer on the stroke of full-time and Brugge continued to dominate when the extra 30 minutes got under way.
Balaban forced the Icelandic goalkeeper into action again with Vålerenga now clearly playing for penalties. However, destiny was with Brugge whose victory completed a memorable night for Belgian football with RSC Anderlecht also in the hat for the group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday. Vålerenga enter the UEFA Cup first round.
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