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Late Donk header edges Club Brugge past Braga

SC Braga 1-2 Club Brugge KV
Ryan Donk headed the winner in added time as the Belgian league leaders came from behind against last season's beaten finalists.

Brugge's Ryan Donk jumps for joy after his late winner
Brugge's Ryan Donk jumps for joy after his late winner ©Getty Images

An added-time header from Ryan Donk secured a comeback victory for Club Brugge KV against last season's UEFA Europa League runners-up SC Braga.

Hélder Barbosa's third goal in two continental games gave the hosts a 53rd-minute lead which, given their miserly defensive record, they might have been expected to preserve. Instead, Joseph Akpala profited from a mix-up to prod in the first goal Braga have conceded at home in Europe in eight matches, and, just as a Group H point apiece seemed inevitable, Donk rose to power in Vadis Odjidja's free-kick.

A cautious opening quickly gave way to a chance at either end, with Björn Vleminckx at the centre of both incidents. Following a short Braga corner, the Club Brugge striker was in the right place to head a deflected effort from Djamal off the line, and he brought a smart save out of Quim moments later.

Vleminckx then departed nursing a shoulder injury as Braga began to press, opening the visitors up twice before the break. From another well-worked corner, Hugo Viana squared for Alan to touch over, before Mossoró cleared the crossbar after Hélder Barbosa's pass to Lima had drawn goalkeeper Colin Coosemans from his line.

Akpala, on for Vleminckx, had earlier headed wide for the Belgian league leaders, who were within centimetres of taking the lead after the break when Victor Vázquez volleyed wide. Reprieved, the Arsenalistas prised open the visitors again but this time to full effect, with Alan playing in Baiano, whose cross was headed in by the unmarked Hélder Barbosa.

There seemed little danger at the other end when Donk launched a long ball forward for Akpala to chase 19 minutes from time, but the striker's perseverance was rewarded when Quim and Vinícius got their wires crossed. It was then left to Donk to rub salt into Braga's wounds and inflict their first defeat in any competition this season, while taking Club Brugge three points clear in the section.