BRUGGE, Belgium (AP) — Charles de Ketelaere scored the opener and won a penalty as Club Brugge put its Champions league campaign back on track with a 3-0 win over Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
The result moved Brugge to within two points of second-place Lazio ahead of their final Group F match in Rome next week, where the winner will advance. Leader Borussia Dortmund has a one-point lead over Lazio, which would also advance with a draw against Brugge. Last-place Zenit was already out of contention.
“We did a great job today, now we have the chance to qualify,” said Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. “We are already qualified for the Europa League, the match in Rome is a bonus and we can do it.”
Hans Vanaken and Noa Lang were also on the scoresheet for the Belgian champions following an uneventful opening half-hour.
After Zenit striker Sardar Azmoun had a goal disallowed for offside, Brugge capitalized on a defensive error in the 33rd minute as De Ketelaere made the most of a poor clearance to fire a powerful drive from inside the area past goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov.
It was De Ketelaere’s second goal of the competition. The highly-rated attacking midfielder, who turned 19 in March, made his international debut with Belgium last month and also scored a stoppage-time winner in the reverse fixture in October.
The goal boosted the hosts’ confidence and Vanaken could have doubled Brugge’s lead four minutes later when he was left unmarked in the box and connected with a corner, only to head the ball straight at the goalkeeper.
Zenit made three changes during the interval and had an equalizer chalked off in the 48th minute for a handball by Daler Kuzyayev following a cross from the left.
The home side was under pressure but weathered the visitors’ assault and doubled the lead near the hour mark after De Ketelaere was sandwiched and fouled in the box. Vanaken took the penalty kick and sent Kerzhakov the wrong way.
Lang completed the scoring from close range in the 73rd after Emmanuel Dennis found space down the right flank and sent a low cross into the area.
The match was played without fans attending because of Belgium’s coronavirus restrictive measures.