Club Brugge 0-2 Copenhagen: Victory not enough for FCK to progress
FC Copenhagen were forced to settle for Europa League football in the new year despite finishing their Champions League group campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over Club Brugge.
An own goal from Brandon Mechele and a header from Mathias Jorgensen were enough to seal the victory for the visitors at Jan Breydelstadion and condemn Brugge to a sixth defeat in six in Group G.
The win was not enough to send Copenhagen into the last 16, however, after Porto sealed second place in the group with an emphatic 5-0 home victory over Leicester City.
Two set-pieces from Ludwig Augustinsson did the damage inside 16 minutes in Belgium, and the game developed into little more than an exhibition match once news of Porto's lead began to filter through.
FCK - who have remarkably lost only once in their last 35 games in all competitions - rarely surrendered control of proceedings, with Robin Olsen's save from Wesley the closest Brugge came to finding a way back into the match.
The result compounded a miserable Champions League campaign for Michel Preud'homme's side, who finish bottom of the group with a goal difference of -12, while FCK go into the draw for the Europa League's last 32 on Monday.
The home side started brightly, Ricardo van Rhijn forcing a good near-post stop from goalkeeper Olsen after only two minutes, but Copenhagen snatched the opener with their first meaningful attack of the match.
Augustinsson's free-kick from the right was headed goalwards by Thomas Delaney and the ball struck the chest of Mechele before dropping into the net.
Seven minutes later, Copenhagen had their second from another set-piece from the right. Augustinsson curled a corner towards the six-yard box, where Jorgensen jumped clear of the defence and goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle before heading in.
The match entered something of a pedestrian pace, with Porto's win over Leicester all but assured by half-time, but FCK could have doubled their lead in the opening few minutes of the second half.
Peter Ankersen saw a dipping free-kick saved by Butelle, before Andrija Pavlovic just failed to connect with a teasing cross moments later as Brugge struggled to clear their lines.
Wesley brought a low stop from Olsen with a rare sight of goal from the edge of the area but Preud'homme's men were causing few concerns for the visitors, despite having gained a stranglehold on possession.
The fans continued to create a decent atmosphere despite the low attendance and distinct lack of entertainment, as the two teams cruised through the closing stages to preserve energy ahead of key respective league matches this weekend against Anderlecht and AGF respectively.