Jupiler Pro League play-offs: KRC Genk beats Union St-Gillis

Jupiler Pro League play-offs: KRC Genk beats Union St-Gillis
Jupiler Pro League play-offs: KRC Genk beats Union St-Gillis
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Wouter Vrancken had to play against the leader without his injured captain Bryan Heynen, Matias Galarza was the logical replacement. The Genk coach also opted for a five-man defense with Mujaid Sadick, Carlos Cuesta and Mark McKenzie in the center back and Zakaria El Ouahdi and Joris Kayembe as offensive wingbacks.

At opponent Union, Alexander Blessin posted midfielder Charles Vanhoutte on the right in the three-man defense as a replacement for the injured Kevin Mac Allister and sensation Mohammed Amoura remained on the bench in favor of second striker Dennis Eckert Ayensa.

Two misses

In a tentative opening phase, it was KRC Genk that made the best start, although without creating any significant opportunities. The first major opportunity was just before fifteen minutes for the visitors from Brussels. A rehearsed corner kick from Cameron Puertas landed at the feet of Noah Sadiki, who ended up completely free-standing and incomprehensibly wide of Maarten Vandevoordt’s goal.

Just like that, a few seconds later we hit the other side. Anouar Ait El Hadj cleverly sent Tolu Arokodare into the path, but he ended up weakly in the hands of the Luxembourg citizen, face to face with goalkeeper Anthony Moris.

© Dick Demey

Then Tolu

A fast-playing Genk took more and more command and pressed Union with its back against its own goal. With success: just before the half hour, Arokodare Racing deservedly took the lead. The Nigerian was sent deep by Patrik Hrosovsky and mercilessly punished an error in judgment by Moris, who stayed on his goal line for too long: 1-0.

© Dick Demey

Not much later it was almost 2-0. A beautiful Genk attack ended up via Arokodare and Ait El Hadj at Joris Kayembe, who still fired over the goal from close range. Fortunately for the Congolese, Arokodare was offside earlier in the attack.

The remainder of the first period passed without any chances. Puertas shot wide from far away and Eckert Ayensa headed a free kick from the same Puertas high over. So the score was 1-0 at halftime, a more than deserved lead for blue and white.

© Dick Demey

Many duels, no opportunities

Union came out of the dressing room slightly better, but the Brussels team remained below par in terms of football. Yellow and blue tried, but threatening Maarten Vandevoordt was barely successful. The fans in the Cegeka Arena got to see a lot of matches. The match became increasingly bitter, but it never went over the edge.

While Union desperately searched for an equalizer, a hard-working Arokodare was able to almost double Genk’s lead halfway through the second half. However, his header on a corner was too central and thus an easy prey for Moris.

© Dick Demey

Brussels print

As the final whistle drew closer, the visitors increased the pressure a bit. Genk, with Alieu Fadera in front of a battle-weary Ait El Hadj, limited themselves to countering. Galarza took another shot from far away, but his shot went just over Moris’s goal.

On the other side, Alessio Castro-Montes came close to the equalizer. The Limburger cut down Mark McKenzie in the Genk sixteen, but Vandevoordt made a good save. It gradually became sink or sink for the home team, but Vrancken’s troops showed fighting spirit and held their ground. For the visitors, Christian Burgess was shown a stupid red card in the closing seconds of extra time after he threw the ball hard against Arokodare’s head during a throw-in.

© Isosport

Thanks to the victory over Cercle Brugge and Antwerp, Genk jumps to a shared third place with Club Brugge. The trip to the Bosuil Stadium is on the program on match day two on Saturday. At the top of the rankings, Union must tolerate its neighbors from Anderlecht.

Kayembe’s response after KRC Genk – Union. — © Mathias Vranckx

KRC GENK: Vandevoordt – El Ouahdi, Sadick, Cuesta, McKenzie, Kayembe – Galarza, Hrosovsky – El Khannouss, Ait El Hadj, Arokodare.

UNION: Moris – Castro-Montes, Vanhoutte, Burgess, Sykes, Lapoussin – Sadiki, Lazare, Puertas – Nilsson, Eckert Ayensa.

REPLACEMENTS: 46′ Eckert Ayensa by Rasmussen, 64′ Cuesta by Sobol, 75′ Ait El Hadj by Fadera, 84′ Lapoussin by Teklab, 87′ El Khannouss by Zeqiri, 87′ Sadiki by Kabangu

GOALS: 27′ Arokodare 1-0.

YELLOW CARDS: 83′ El Khannouss (tackle), 83′ Sykes (protest), 95′ Castro-Montes (protest)

RED CARDS: 90+5′ Burgess (frustration)

SPECTATORS: 18,423.

REFEREE: Nicolas Laforge.

Tags: Jupiler Pro League playoffs KRC Genk beats Union StGillis

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