Al-Ittihad suffered a bitter defeat at home. Vice-champion Racing Genk could not convince for ninety minutes, but took the three points from Dudenpark thanks to an early goal from debutant Andy Zeqiri and a late goal from Matias Galarza. The Union team had many opportunities to avoid defeat, but was unable to put the ball into the goal.
Al-Ittihad – Genk in brief:
- Man of the match: A debut that you can only dream about in advance. In his first match for Genk, Zeqiri immediately scored the most important goal of the match. For the rest, the Brighton signing went to war with Burgess to no avail, but that’s not what fans will remember after tonight.
- Honorary: The man of the match is not necessarily the best player on the field. This role was intended for Amani Lazar. The tireless midfielder constantly featured at the back of Genk’s defence. He could easily have three assists to his name.
- distinct: Although Union created a large number of chances – 25 in total – they only had 4 shots between the posts. This was in stark contrast to Genk, who also scored twice with two shots on target.
KRC Genk entered the international match with a goal-scoring problem, but ‘efficiency’ was the only thing the visitors could really rely on – after a poor first half – against Union.
Thanks to new striker Andy Zeqiri.
The visitors were completely thrashed by a powerful Union in the opening stages, but – like a bolt from the blue – Brighton’s new signing still gifted the visitors the opening goal after twenty minutes. He got 0-1 on a tray of Paintsil.
The first of many for Zakiri?
But the union was not affected at all. The home team took control of the midfield and continued to dominate the match. It created chance after chance, but Puertas and his busy teammates were unable to get the ball past the posts.
Verdict: 25 shots, only 4 between the posts and 0 goals.
To make matters worse, Matias Galarza also opened his account with Genk. In the last minute, he shot a rebound from substitute Tolo. Score in Genk: Two shots on target, two goals.
HOW IT COULD GO: Union entered the international match as a fast-scoring and unbeatable home team, but – after a frustrating game – burdened themselves with a goal-scoring problem.
Franken: “We made it difficult for ourselves”
Wouter Franken (Genk): “That was a great victory. But after the previous matches, that was also allowed. We deserved it there, but we didn’t get it. Now it’s the opposite. That’s also allowed, actually. We’re very sorry about that.” “We made ourselves difficult. Al-Ittihad put us under a lot of pressure and forced us to make mistakes. Fortunately, we fought for every bit of ground. It was us and them and they were not very effective. The roles were reversed there as well. Our new striker Zeqiri also did his best and showed The right energy in his game. He has done everything for the team and still has a lot of room to grow.”
Messin: “This defeat is hard to believe”
Alexander Belsen (Al-Ittihad):Football can be unfair sometimes. Because we are playing a very good game today. And it’s not just the numbers that show this. I also saw a team that put their heart into this match. We just missed a goal. We wanted that, but of course you have to put the ball in the frame. It’s hard to believe and accept that we don’t get any points, but we have to learn from that. “We may be disappointed today, but the European match against Toulouse is just around the corner.”
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