Defeated in Genk (1-0), Unión makes a wrong operation and feels the breath of Anderlecht behind them

In the lead at the end of the classic phase, Union Saint-Gilloise went to Genk, who finished in the sixth and last qualifying place for the debut in the Champions Playoff in unlikely circumstances in Westerlo. The pressure was on the Brusselsers since Anderlecht joined Moris’ group at the top of the standings after Saturday’s victory in Antwerp.

For this match, Wouter Vrancken had to deal with the absences of Baah and Heynen and opted for the presence of three central defenders in the starting eleven with a five-man defense, something quite unusual among the Limburgers. Up front, Alexander Blessin had to deal with numerous absences on defense. Vanhoutte and Sykes accompanied Burgess in central defense. On the offensive level there will not be Amoura, slightly injured, but rather Ayensa to accompany Nilsson.

A pleasant first period

The start of the match was interesting, with two playful teams trying to directly impose their style of play: if Genk and Union got potentially dangerous situations, they were always missing the last pass. The first big chance of the game came from Sadiki, who received a corner from Puertas but his flat foot went wide. In the process, Arokodare overtook Burgess, but Moris came out perfectly to avoid the initial score.

The pace was then a little slower with two teams playing with the same game system. The first twist of fate in the match came shortly before the half hour when Moris miscalculated the trajectory of a ball, preferred to stay on his line and Arokodare sought to deceive the Luxembourg goalkeeper (1-0, 27). Genk even missed the break directly with Kayembe, who failed to take advantage of a serve from El Hadj while the goal was empty.

Discreet until then, Puertas brought danger with a curl that licked Vandevoordt’s stick. The Saint-Gillois were a bit feverish while Genk, at the time of their qualification at the last minute, played without complexes with some combinations that were worth watching. Racing’s advantage was quite logical at half-time.

The Union pressed in vain

The start of the second act began with less rhythm but Unión approached Genko’s goal with Lapoussin who could not get rid of Cuesta despite being in a good position. Usually imperial, Blessin’s men found themselves pushed by a rival who fought for every ball, like El Khannouss, who was exemplary in this area.

In the end there were not many clear opportunities, although the championship leaders tried to accelerate by approaching the goal defended by Vandervoordt. It was even Arokodare who had the opportunity to make the break but his header, from a corner, was well saved by Moris as the last quarter of an hour approached.

A last quarter of an hour where the minutes became more and more complicated for the Genkois who gave in but did not bow to the unionist pressure. With 8 minutes left, Castro-Montes produced a fantastic solo and only Vandevoordt was on track to avoid the tie. Decisive stop since the scoreboard was no longer moving. In the final moments, Burgess was sent off for a humorous gesture towards Arokodare that risks proving costly for the rest of the championship.

Poor operation by Union Saint-Gilloise that maintains its leadership position but feels the encouragement of an Anderlecht that returns to its level (half a point separates the two teams). For its part, Genk rose to 3rd place and showed that it is not coming to make up the numbers in these Champions Playoffs.

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