Ryan thanks 'football gods' after gaffe

Socceroos keeper Mathew Ryan has thanked the football gods after not being punished for a second-half howler in Club Brugge’s vital come-from-behind 2-1 win over Anderlecht on Sunday.

With his side trailing 1-0 on the hour mark, Ryan under-hit a pass across goal towards centre-back Brandon Mechele, allowing Anderlecht’s Dennis Praet to intercept, with an empty net at his mercy.

Praet opted to take a first time shot from just outside the box, but somehow screwed his shot wide of the target with Ryan scrambling.

It was a huge let-off for league leaders Brugge, who scored twice in the final 15 minutes, to claim a vital three points as they chase the title.

Ryan has had a stellar season for Brugge, but the blunder comes only a fortnight after a gaffe in a 2-1 win over Standard Liege.

“I thank the football gods for being really lucky,” Ryan told the club’s website.

“I intended for the pass to reach Brandon but Praet was in between. Luckily for me he kicked the ball wide and it remained at 1-0.

“Fortunately I can laugh about it now, but it obviously could have turned out very differently.

“This victory will give us a boost.”

The result keeps Brugge two points clear of second-placed Gent, with third-placed Anderlecht a further three points behind, with seven games to play in the Belgian playoffs.

Earlier, Ryan made a good save to parry a Praet header wide, but was beaten when Aleksandar Mitrovic’s effort was deflected past him at the near post on 26 minutes.

Ryan was rooted to the spot moments later when Mitrovic fired a header just wide, before pulling off a save with his legs from a long-range deflected shot.

In the second half, the Australian’s poor clearance led to a free-kick, taken by Mitrovic, which Ryan acrobatically saved with his right hand after it had hit the wall.

After Ryan’s near-horror moment, the introduction of Obbi Oulare proved vital, heading the equaliser on 74 minutes, prior to Ruud Vormer’s winner from a quick free-kick.

“Our character and fighting spirit, it was written in the stars that we could win this match today,” Ryan added.

“I hope this is the luck of the champion. We knew going in that this was a very important game.”

Ryan has already won the Belgian Cup with Brugge this season, while they are also in the Europa League quarter-finals where they’ll face Ukraine outfit Dnipro in the second leg on Friday (AEDT time).

The Socceroos stopper performed admirably in the first leg, keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 in Belgium.