SV Zulte Waregem are back in the hunt to qualify from UEFA Europa League Group D thanks to a 1-0 win at NK Maribor.
Seeking revenge for a 3-1 home defeat by Maribor a fortnight ago, the Belgian side secured their first victory of the campaign thanks to Thorgan Hazard's first-half penalty. That was enough for Zulte Waregem to leapfrog their Slovenian hosts into third spot in the section, a point behind Wigan Athletic FC.
The visitors nearly broke through after just seven minutes when Hazard fed Raphaël Cacérès with a precise ball, but the No19's shot was saved by Jasmin Handanovič. The Maribor goalkeeper was required again moments later in order to punch Bruno Godeau's header off his line.
Tavares had Ante Šimundža's team's first notable chance but shot wide from the edge of the penalty area. The decisive moment did arrive just before the half-hour, Mitja Viler felling Ibrahima Conté in the box having been caught in possession. Hazard promptly sent Handanovič the wrong way from the spot.
Both sides took an open, attacking approach after the interval. Maribor's search for an equaliser nearly came to fruition on 55 minutes, but Tavares's effort was comfortably saved by Sammy Bossut. Substitute Damjan Bohar was next to go close, heading narrowly wide from an acute angle.
Though Junior Malanda threatened at the other end, it was Maribor who looked most likely to score the next goal. Indeed, they would have got it on 63 minutes had it not been for Bossut's fine save to deny Aleš Mertelj.
Zulte Waregem responded with Cacérès's volley, which flew off target, but the home crowd again watched in disbelief on 77 minutes when Bossut thwarted Bohar's 20-metre effort in spectacular fashion. Viler then missed narrowly with a long-range attempt. Zulte Waregem had ridden the storm and nearly added to their lead through Godeau, though there was still time for Nusmir Fajić to spurn one last chance for Maribor.
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