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Club Brugge take summit, HJK bow out

Club Brugge KV 2-1 HJK Helsinki
Lior Refaelov's late finish propelled the home side back to the top of Group B, with the Finnish champions unable to keep their round of 32 dream alive.

Tom De Sutter of Club Brugge in action with Valtteri Moren (right) of HJK
Tom De Sutter of Club Brugge in action with Valtteri Moren (right) of HJK ©AFP/Getty Images

HJK eliminated after Torino win in Denmark to finish second
Felipe Gedoz puts Club Brugge in front from the spot
Macoumba Kandji's header brings HJK level early in the second half
Substitute Lior Refaelov strikes late to give Brugge top spot in Group B
Round of 32 draw takes place in Nyon at 13.00CET on 15 December

Club Brugge KV claimed first place in UEFA Europa League Group B and denied HJK Helsinki a round of 32 berth with a 2-1 success in Belgium.

Felipe Gedoz's well-struck penalty seemed to have set the Belgian side on course for victory, yet Macoumba Kandji's second-half equaliser for HJK caused consternation in the home ranks until substitute Lior Refaelov's late strike sealed victory and top spot.

The visitors knew nothing less than three points would give them any hope of prolonging their UEFA Europa League campaign, and they came faster out of the blocks. Anthony Annan had the first on-target effort, but Matthew Ryan saved comfortably and the Belgian league leaders then broke the deadlock at the other end, Gedoz thumping a spot kick high into the net after Nikola Storm had been tripped in the box by Valtteri Moren.

Mika Väyrynen almost restored parity, his delightful attempt only just clearing the bar, and Ryan saved well from Erfan Zeneli shortly after the restart – but he was powerless to keep out Kandji's strong downward header after a good run and cross by Robin Lod. HJK continued to assert themselves, and only a superb last-ditch tackle from Davy de Fauw stopped Lod as he bore down on the Australian keeper.

With Torino FC beating FC København 5-1 in Denmark, the Italian side looked set to top of the section at Club Brugge's expense. However, that all changed when substitute Refaelov fired in low and hard with his left foot two minutes from time to give his side a seeded slot in Monday's round of 32 draw.