Defending Onyedika’s sending-off against Fiorentina Club Brugge coach

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After Thursday night’s UEFA Europa Conference League match against Fiorentina, Club Brugge manager Nicky Hayen refused to place the blame on midfielder Raphael Onyedika, who was sent off.

The home team won the first leg of the semi-final match 3-2 thanks to Hayen’s team’s inability to score.

In the 58th minute, Onyedika received his first booking for an unsportsmanlike tackle.

The international player from Nigeria was sent out three minutes later after picking up his second yellow card of the match.

The 23-year-old will not be able to participate in next Thursday’s second leg at the Jay Breydelstadion.

“You could see from his reaction that he was surprised,” Hayen told the club’s official website of Onyedika, adding that the player himself was unaware that he already had yellow.

He was unaware that he had yellow on hand, and I will stand by him on that. He would not have made such a shrewd use of the tackle if he weren’t smarter.

“It was unfortunate because it demonstrates the team’s aggression and our reluctance to hand out gifts.”

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