BRUGES: Lucas Beltran scored a late penalty as Fiorentina secured a 1-1 second-leg draw at Club Brugge to win their semi-final tie 4-3 on aggregate and secure back-to-back appearances in the Europa Conference League final.

The Italians led 3-2 from the first leg in Florence, but Hans Vanaken levelled the tie with an early opener for Belgian side Brugge.

Fiorentina looked the more likely to score though and after Christian Kouame twice struck the frame of the goal, they were awarded a penalty when Brandon Mechele’s high boot caught the face of M’Bala Nzola and Beltran levelled on the night with five minutes remaining.

“It’s a sour feeling,” Brugge captain Vanaken said. “It is a typical incident for which they sometimes give a penalty and sometimes not. If the referee doesn’t blow his whistle, the VAR probably won’t intervene.”

Fiorentina, who lost to West Ham United in the Conference League final last season, now face the winner of the second semi-final tie between Olympiakos and Aston Villa in Athens on Thursday. The Greek side lead 4-2 from the first leg.

“Two finals in two years in this competition, it’s fantastic,” Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Italiano said. “The second half was incredible against a strong team in an incredible bedlam (inside the stadium).

“I told them to bring out their best, everyone, from the fullback to the attackers. They did so.”

Brugge finished with 10 men after a late second yellow card for Denis Odoi. They had been hoping to reach their first European final in 46 years, but were second-best over both legs against more attack-minded opponents.

They squared the tie on aggregate when Vanaken’s wicked in-swinging cross from the left had the beating of everyone, including team mate Maxim De Cuyper and Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano.

Kouame’s thunderous shot from the edge of the box struck the underside of the crossbar and stayed out by inches, before the unlucky Ivorian hit the frame of the goal again, this time with a header.

Fiorentina got the chance to score the goal they deserved after Mechele’s carelessness and Beltran provided the knockout blow to the hosts.