Socceroo ‘keeper Mat Ryan’s Club Brugge have won the Belgian Cup with a thrilling 2-1 win over Anderlecht on Monday morning (AEDT).
In a stunning end, Brugge looked like they would be forced to go to extra-time after Aleksandar Mitrović equalized in the final minute to level scores at 1-1.
But Brugge had other ideas, regrouping almost immediately as Israeli international Lior Refaelov scored in the third minute of stoppage time to secure a memorable win for Ryan’s side.
It was nothing less than the Socceroo No.1 and his side deserved having led for most of the match after Tom De Sutter’s superb volley from Refaelov’s free-kick inside 12 minutes.
The triumph was Brugge’s 11th Cup win in the club’s history and the first time in eight years they have won a major trophy.
Ryan didn’t have a lot to do throughout the match but came up with a crucial save from Aleksandar Mitrović’s header just after the hour mark which proved decisive.
It was a stunning reaction save from the Socceroo No.1, tipping the ball over the bar to keep Mitrovic’s goal-bound effort out and maintain Brugge’s well-deserved lead.
The match had earlier been delayed by 30 minutes after Anderlecht officials arrived at the ground late due to traffic.
Brugge were denied what looked like a clear penalty and also had two goals controversially disallowed in quick succession in the second half.
First they were denied when Refaelov was harshly adjudged to have fouled Anderlecht ‘keeper Silvio Proto from a corner before Jose Izquierdo had the ball in the net soon after only to be wrongly called offside.
Ryan came up big again 10 minutes from the end with another important save but there was nothing he could do to stop Mitrovic’s low drive in the final minute.
Luckily for Ryan and his Brugge team-mates they were spared extra-time with their memorable late winner.
It caps a big few days for the Socceroos gloveman, who also played a key part in Brugge’s progression to the Europa League quarter-finals with a win over Besiktas in Turkey.Ryan won’t have much time to celebrate the success as he will leave to link up with the Socceroos for this week’s friendlies against Germany and Macedonia.