Brugge and Dnipro fail to find breakthrough

Club Brugge KV 0-0 FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
The hosts survived a late onslaught as Matthew Ryan produced three crucial stops to deny the Ukrainian side a first-leg advantage.

Brugge and Dnipro failed to force a breakthrough
Brugge and Dnipro failed to force a breakthrough ©AFP/Getty Images

Club Brugge held to a first-leg stalemate by Dnipro 
Hosts maintain unbeaten record this term in competition
Belgian side yet to lose a UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League quarter-final
Matthew Ryan produces three stops in closing stages to earn Brugge clean sheet
Second leg in Ukraine next Thursday, before the semi-final draw the following day

Club Brugge KV and FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk will go into the second leg of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final with the tie finely poised following an engrossing but scoreless first leg.

With Dnipro having won only one of their seven European away games this season and Club Brugge boasting an unbeaten record, the visitors surprisingly made the better start. Ruslan Rotan had the first effort but blazed over.

Highly rated winger Yevhen Konoplyanka and Valeriy Luchkevych caught the eye for Myron Markevych's team with their strong running, but struggled to create clear openings in Bruges. The Dnipryani dominated the early exchanges as the hosts conceded possession for long spells.

However, the Belgian First League leaders did not panic and carved out the best chance of the half. The impressive Obbi Oularé – preferred ahead of Tom De Sutter for his physical presence – sent José Izquierdo clear with a brilliant through ball but the forward was denied by the feet of Dnipro goalkeeper Denys Boyko.

Moments later, Lior Refaelov – one of the top marksmen left in the competition, with six goals – threatened to add to his tally from distance. The No8 picked the ball up 30 metres from goal and whistled a shot just over the crossbar as the stalemate persisted until the break.

The Ukrainian side came faster out of the blocks after the interval too. But a rare lapse from their defence almost presented the Blauw-Zwart with the opener. Davy de Fauw, unmarked from a corner, nodded wide when he should perhaps have found the far post.

Michel Preud'homme's men survived a late onslaught to extend their impressive home sequence to 24 matches unbeaten on all fronts. Brugge's Australia No1 Matthew Ryan underlined his much-touted credentials as Dnipro sought to end their undefeated status in the competition. Ryan repelled Rotan from close range and then produced a wonderful stop low to his left from Konoplyanka. Five minutes later Konoplyanka fired straight at the keeper as, fittingly, Ryan had the final say in an absorbing first-leg contest.