A hat-trick from Mbaye Leye has handed Zulte-Waregem their first win of the Belgian championship playoffs in a 4-3 triumph over Club Brugge.
Zulte kept themselves in the hunt for the Belgian First Division title, withstanding a late comeback from Club Brugge to move up to second in the championship playoffs’ standings, two points behind leaders Anderlecht.
The unfashionable club from Waregem led Club Brugge 2-1 at half-time and then leapt out to a three-goal advantage by the 73rd minute as Leye completed his hat-trick with a magnificent goal.
But the hosts pushed hard in the final 10 minutes at Jan Breydelstadion in Brugge, scoring twice to ensure a nervous finish for Zulte, who had goalkeeper Sebastien Bruzzese to thank for their victory.
Leye gave the visitors the lead in the 13th minute, blasting a long-range missile into the top corner past Brugge’s goalkeeper Vladan Kujovic.
Bruzzese made a good save soon after to deny Victor Vasquez from a free-kick but Brugge eventually equalised in the 37th minute through Ryan Donk, however, Zulte were in front again two minutes before the break when Leye set up French playmaker Franck Berrier to slot the ball home.
Zulte extended their lead 13 minutes after half-time when Berrier and Leye switched roles with the Senegalese striker poking the Frenchman’s corner into the net.
Leye completed his hat-trick in the 73rd minute, running onto Ibrahima Conte’s through-ball before curling his shot over Kujovic to make it 4-1.
While Jesper Jorgensen and Vadis Odjidja -Ofoe struck for Brugge in the 83rd and 86th minutes respectively, Zulte held on with Bruzzese denying Maxime Lestienne the equaliser in the last minute of regular time.
Zulte have moved up to 37 points on the championship playoffs’ standings, keeping their bid for a maiden Belgian First Division title alive with seven games remaining, while Brugge are fifth on 31.