Percy Tau red-carded as Brugge move closer to Champions League group stages
Percy Tau got harshly sent off with just minutes remaining but his Club Brugge held out in the heat of the Ukraine to progress in the Uefa Champions League and now have just one round to get through to qualify for the group phase.
They drew 3-3 away at Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday night but advanced 4-3 on aggregate and will now meet either LASK Linz of Austria or FC Basle of Switzerland for a place in the group phase.
Tau will have to miss the first leg of that playoff tie, however, because of suspension although his club might be tempted to appeal.
The Bafana Bafana star was cautioned for a second time for banging into the opposing ‘keeper but it was clearly a challenge for the ball, without any malice, and the decision from the Croatian referee was a shocker.
Tau could hardly believe it and looked close to tears as he tried to reason with the official.
It was the first sending off of his career after he had been booked as early as the ninth minute, principally for dissent after disagreeing with the referee decision.
Bruges had already gone behind by then as Dynamo launched their first attack and Vitaliy Buialsky tapped the ball away after a sweeping move down the left and a drag back for him to tuck it easily away.
But seven minutes from half-time, Rudi Vormer’s corner was headed in by Ivory Coast defender Simon Deli, who like Tau arrived at the club in the off-season.
It was a simple goal from a setpiece that handed Brugge a major lifeline after surviving some serious pressure in 32 degree heat in the Ukraine capital.
Five minutes after half-time Brugge were behind again in almost the same simple manner with Volodymir Shepelev finishing off the effort.
Brugge then got a major break as Dynamo defender Mykyta Burda was sent off, leaving the hosts down to 10 and used the opportunity to put it back to 2-2 through Vormer.
Tau was then dismissed to even the numbers and in stoppage time, Kiev’s hopes were suddenly revived again after an own goal by Brandon Mechele.
But with virtually the last touch of the game Louis Openda equalised for Brugge to make it safe at 3-3 and advance them to the playoff round.