One of those days when everything works out for one person, and nothing for the other. A very good first half – and an elusive Balikwisha – was enough for Antwerp to put Racing Genk aside. To Porto with confidence, while the Limburgers lose for the first time since the beginning of August.
LOOK. Vermeeren: “This gives a lot of confidence”
Traffic jam at the Deurne exit around eight o’clock. Metejoor performed at the Sportpaleis, and Antwerp hosted Racing Genk. The message was to be on time. Because whoever arrived at the Bosuil ten minutes later had already missed two goals. After four minutes, Vincent Janssen ended his goal drought by putting a sharp cross from Muja into the goal. “I don’t really understand why people are doubting him,” Mark van Bommel would say afterwards.
Six minutes later, Balikwisha exploded the stadium a second time after a beautiful attack by the home team. Not awake properly, Racing? “Those ten minutes cost us the match,” Wouter Vrancken nodded afterwards. “We scored goals too easily, due to a few wrong takeovers. Shame. We tried again afterwards, but that became difficult.”
The supporters who were present on time had already started a joust in advance. “Champions, olé olé”, sang those from Antwerp. The title match in and against Genk is still fresh in our minds, and certainly the manner in which it was played.
Genk did make attempts to restore balance. Zeqiri once kicked Butez, and Paintsil (who was whistled for 90 minutes – they will not soon forget at the Bosuil) saw a cross shot towards the short corner with difficulty parried by Butez. The same Butez had to do everything he could on a McKenzie header and saw Zeqiri hit the post.
But the goals? They kept falling on the other side. Vandevoordt unfortunately tapped the ball towards his own goal line after two previous good saves. Janssen pushed him all the way over the line, but the VAR had ruled it offside. The 3-0 came after a deep ball from Alderweireld that was finely finished by Balikwisha. “He always plays well against Muñoz,” Van Bommel once said. Well… And yet Antwerp did not go to rest with a very good feeling. Bataille lost the ball into the feet of Zeqiri, who suddenly found himself alone in front of Butez and scored twice.
This time no early blow after the break for RAFC, but another great chance. Balikwisha slipped off his flank again and saw his attempt on the post die. Afterwards the game turned too much into an ordinary kicking match. Referee D’hondt signaled more than once to keep the cup there.
Before halftime, Genk had already shouted for a penalty after a push from Coulibaly, but after consulting the VAR the ref had waved away that claim. Van Bommel himself indicated that Antwerp got away well, and Vrancken also disagreed with that decision. “It was clear to me, but not to them. They tackle Bryan to the ground with both hands…”
Genk did not have much claim to a tying goal. El Khannouss kicked just wide, but that was it for a long time. Balikwisha hit the target wood again – his third of the evening didn’t go in, but he is a pleasure to watch when he is in the right place. In the end that wasn’t necessary. After all, Muñoz’s 3-2 in minute 97 came too late. Van Bommel is a satisfied man. “I am very satisfied with our way of playing. I kept saying that after all those draws and defeats, but someday it will stop. That’s why I’m extra happy with this victory.”
Antwerp gets on the plane to Porto with a boost in his pocket. For the first time this season they win a top match. “We already deserved more victories, but only now are we succeeding. What Wouter does is fantastic. He continues to play his own offensive game. That’s why we saw such a fantastic match.” Racing Genk only loses for the second time this season.
LOOK. Heynen: “Losing match in opening phase”
End of second half
3-2 GOAL by Daniel Muñoz!
3-2. Paintsil paints a free kick onto the crossbar and in the restart Muñoz is able to head it home. The tying goal comes too late, because ref D’Hondt blows the whistle immediately afterwards.
Arbnor Muja is replaced by George Ilenikhena
Yellow card for Christopher Baah
Patrik Hrošovský is replaced by Aziz Ouattara Mohammed
It will be 4-1 rather than 3-2 here in Antwerp. McKenzie starts messing around and loses the leather to Balikwisha, who releases Muja. The Albanian gets rid of Muñoz and then aims wide.
Vincent Janssen is replaced by Zeno Van Den Bosch
Balikwisha now against the crossbar
Once again Balikwisha is close to his hat-trick. Vermeeren breaks through and lays back for the Antwerp attacker, already good for 2 goals today, but his shot explodes onto the crossbar. Earlier this half he already hit the post.
Carlos Cuesta is replaced by Alieu Fadera
Jurgen Ekkelenkamp is replaced by Gyrano Kerk
It will have to come from El Khannouss at Genk. The young midfielder tries to lead his team and look for openings. For now he can’t find them. Antwerp seems to keep the visitors under control.
Yellow card for Alhassan Yusuf
Yellow card for Bilal El Khannous
El Khannouss next door
With the contribution of Bonsu Baah, El Khannouss has moved back to the number ten position. The playmaker dribbles free and tries from distance. A meter next to it.
A dangerous situation for Antwerp’s goal. Muñoz tries to head, Janssen converts into a corner.
Andi Zeqiri is replaced by Toluwalase Emmanuel Arokodare
Matías Galarza is replaced by Christopher Baah
Let’s go back to the penalty phase at the end of the first half.
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