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Karim Hafez scores as Lierse win to avoid direct relegation
Karim Hafez scored while Zizo and Ahmed Hassan assisted in Lierse’s win over Cercle Brugge, to avoid relegation for the time being.
The game was the fourth of a five-game playoff round between Cercle Brugge and Lierse, the bottom two teams of the Jupiler Pro League regular season. Both sides entered the game with six points. Egyptians Ahmed Sayed “Zizo” and Karim Hafez started.
Cercle Brugge were 1-0 up at half-time, courtesy of a goal by Martens in the 20th minute. Lierse came back with three goals in the second period, and Egyptians were involved in all three.
First, Zizo stepped up to take a penalty in the 67th minute. His shot was blocked, but Karim Hafez latched onto the rebound and took a shot, which was deflected by Brugge defender Bourdin into his own net. The goal, if attributed to Hafez, is his second in two consecutive games.
Lierse then went 2-1 up through a Bensebaini goal from an assist (a corner) by Karim Hafez at 80′.
Eight minutes later, Diomandé made it 3-1 with a beautiful lob from an assist by the third Egyptian to feature on the night: Ahmed Hassan, who had replaced Zizo a few minutes earlier. However, the goal resulted in wild celebrations and Zizo, who had been booked in the first half for diving, received a second yellow and was sent off from the bench.
The result means Lierse have won the playoffs with one game to spare. Cercle Brugge are relegated after playing 12 years in the top division, while Lierse will go through further playoffs with three teams from the second tier to fight for one place in next season’s top division.