Title battle is completely open: Genk inflicts Union’s first defeat in 25 games


KRC Genk


  1. 27′ – Goal – Toluwalase Emmanuel Arokodare (1 – 0)
  1. 64′ – Cont. Carlos Cuesta by Eduard Sobol
  2. 76′ – Cont. Anouar Ait El Hajj by Alieu Fadera
  3. 83′ – Yellow – Bilal El Khannous
  4. 83′ – Yellow – Ross Sykes
  5. 84′ – Cont. Loic Lapoussin by Henok Teklab
  6. 86′ – Cont. Noah Sadiki by Elton Kabangu
  7. 87′ – Cont. Bilal El Khannous by Andi Zeqiri
  8. 90+5′ – Red – Christian Burgess

Jupiler Pro League – matchday 1 – 01/04/24 – 6:30 PM

time icon player homeTime homeIcon homePlayer score awayPlayer awayIcon awayTime


Toluwalase Emmanuel Arokodare


Toluwalase Emmanuel Arokodare

1 – 0

The play-offs couldn’t have started worse for leader Union. Just when it comes to the marbles, it suffered its first defeat in 25 league games against Genk. In the title battle, Union has to tolerate Anderlecht in the rankings, although it still has a half-point lead. Thanks to the victory, Genk suddenly jumps to third place.

Genk – Union in a nutshell:

  • Key moment: In a match without too many chances, one mistake can make the difference. Moris misjudges a deep ball, Tolu takes full advantage. Union no longer gets into its game and can no longer score.
  • Man of the match: Has Bilal El Khannous’ big farewell show started? The playmaker was omnipresent at Genk, especially in the first half. Together with El Hadj he kept the Limburgers running, even when there was a fight, the Moroccan did his bit.
  • Remarkable: Union doesn’t like Genk. The last time the Brussels team lost in the competition was also against the Limburgers, in September 2023. That was also the last time that Union could not score in the competition.

Fris Genk rewards itself in a strong first half

Today, two battered teams faced each other with KRC Genk and Union. Wouter Vrancken had also adjusted his system to a system with three central defenders to accommodate Union.

That plan worked extremely well, especially in the first half. Genk was dominant on the ball, Union could not get a grip on the game. Bilal El Khannous and Anouar Ait El Hadj provided the necessary creativity up front, although opportunities were not forthcoming at first.

The first big chance was even for Union, Sadiki was completely released after a rehearsed corner kick. However, the young midfielder could not disguise the fact that he is not an attacker with his shot.

Genk responded appropriately. Tolu escaped for the first time in the back of Burgess, but finished too weakly. No problem, because a little later it was a hit for the rush hour.

Another long ball from Hrosovsky was completely misjudged by Moris, Tolu took full advantage. He pushed the ball past the hopeless goalkeeper into the goal.


Union loses composure in frustrating second half

Union found it far too difficult to get into its game. The leader especially had difficulty with the fierce battle that Genk was waging.

In the second half, the people of Brussels tried everything, but there were no real big opportunities.

Castro-Montes was the most active offensively, he dribbled free several times. Vandevoordt, however, stood firm on every attempt. Nilsson’s shot was also saved by the goalkeeper.

In the end the pots boiled over at Union. Puertas and Teklab openly argued with each other, Burgess made it even more heated.

The defender simply threw a throw-in in Tolu’s face and Laforge allowed him to take a shower for a minute before the rest. An unpleasant suspension is still coming for the defender.

So worries for Alexander Blessin, who suddenly has to tolerate Anderlecht next to him. Union still retains a half-point lead over its city rivals. Genk takes full advantage of Antwerp’s loss of points and the division of points in Bruges, the Limburgers are suddenly third.



Reactions after Genk – Union:

  • Mark McKenzie: “Today a new season started, the only important thing was the three points. It’s a matter of mentality, everyone who played did their job. It was a tactical match, that’s how football is sometimes. We look at it game by game, then we’ll see where we’re going.”
  • Bilal El Khannous: “Playoffs are finals, and you don’t play them, you win them. Today we mainly did it on mentality, although the quality was also there. I am very happy to be at Genk. I give everything, then we’ll see how and what. The most important thing for me is to always give 200% for this club, I will do that until the end. We played a different system today, that was fun. We did well without Heynen, but we will definitely give him still need.”
  • Alessio Castro-Montes: “I have no explanation why, but we didn’t get into our game. Certainly in the first half, but also in the second. The really big chances were not forthcoming, I had a few but not enough. In my opinion it was too with intensity, we didn’t have enough of the second ball. When the goal was conceded, the previous match against Antwerp may still have been in Moris’ head, but he will also know that he made a mistake. That’s no problem, I’m sure that thanks to him we will get many more points this season.”
  • Charles Vanhoutte: “In the first half there was a lack of intensity, but in the second we did have control. We didn’t create enough with the dominance we had. In the beginning we really didn’t meet the deadline. Genk was waiting for us at the end. The rooms were very small. Then the speed of action must be very high and the quality top. These are the details that need to be improved. We mainly look at ourselves, we will have to continue to do that. It all still has to be played out, we have to calmly to stay.”
  • Alexander Blessin: “We lost the game in the first half because of our attitude. Genk comes into these play-offs without losing anything, and you noticed that in the first half. We played terribly, lost the ball too much. That was an invitation for ourselves to make mistakes, we didn’t find solutions. The solution was to drop long balls and fight for the second ball, but we didn’t do that enough. We have to focus again on the basics, the second half was already a Much better. Moris has to score the goal against, I expect my goal to be high there. Losing a match is no problem, the way is something else.”
  • Wouter Vrancken: “The boys did well today, everything starts with energy. If that isn’t there, nothing will work. We showed a lot of energy and work force and deserved to win today. We always play well against Union, with moments on both sides. Then It’s good that we show that we can get a result like this. We played a very strong match, especially when you know how many players we were missing. Efficiency is the most important, we have often had it the other way around. Today we were Fortunately, we focused and were able to finish with the chances we got. These will still be very difficult matches, but today a step has already been taken.”

Phase by phase

End: big party in Genk

Laforge puts an end to it. Union was unrecognizable today and lost on the field to KRC Genk. The home team was strong in the first half and capitalized on that dominance.

Union did come in the second half, but the people of Brussels did not get any big chances. Castro-Montes came closest to the equalizer, but did not finish.

Union gets a taste of its own medicine. Genk plays it out in a very annoying way, but it works. At Union they don’t know what’s happening.

Red for Burgess!

Ai, ai, Union. Burgess loses it completely, he throws a throw-in hard into Tolu’s face. Laforge is relentless and immediately draws red. It doesn’t get any dumber than this.

El Ouahdi shields a ball at the corner flag, Puertas then knocks it over. Not smart, because the seconds are ticking away.

Genk is smarter and trickier than Union, which is something Union normally masters so well.

Bert Sterckx on Radio 1

Castro-Montes again

Castro-Montes has been the most dangerous man at Union. He dribbles free once again, but again his shot is too easy for Vandevoordt.

5 – extra time

An extra 5 minutes will be added.

It remains sink or sink for Genk. The crosses keep coming, a misunderstanding between Teklab and Puertas is welcome for the Limburgers. Frustrations take over at Union, as Teklab and Puertas insult each other.

Union took action too late.

Bert Sterckx on Radio 1

Kabangu immediately stirs. He passes everything and everyone and gets a corner kick. Three men then push Vandevoordt, Laforge has no choice but to whistle a foul.

Burgess heads over

Burgess climbs highest on a corner kick, but cannot get his header directed downwards. Meanwhile, Blessin uses his last substitution moment to bring on Kabangu, so Amoura will not come on today.

Genk has entered a kind of survival mode. One cross after another is dropped into the penalty area by Union, without success so far.

Wild tackle El Khannous

El Khannous arrives at Puertas much too late and receives a justified yellow card. However, Sykes wants more, but also receives a yellow card for his protest.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Title battle completely open Genk inflicts Unions defeat games


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