There is no shortage of passion and spectacle, an attractive Genk Standard deserved a packed Luminus Arena on Friday evening. The top match ended in a fair draw (2-2), with Ito scoring twice for the home team, which saw captain Heynen fall out injured.
While John van den Brom was able to hold on to the starting eleven, who smashed open the gate to the cup final in Anderlecht, Mbaye Leye still had to adjust his plans during the warm-up. Cimirot was injured and was replaced by Pavlovic. Leye also chose Gavory over Siquet and left second striker Muleka aside for Bastien, an extra midfielder.
At the back, the visiting coach opted for strict man-covering, Bokadi covered on Thorstvedt. It resulted in many and tough duels all over the field. The Rouches managed to keep the spaces small, except when there was a loss of ball. Then Genk switched quickly and cleanly.
It gave Racing the first chances of the match. And so after the 1-0. After an ubiquitous Heynen Amallah stole the ball, Bongonda put Bodart to the test. Ito pointed the rebound in front of goal, where Onuachu did what he rarely did this season: from close range he fumbled the ball off the wrong side of the post.
The home team forced a few more chances, but the tie at half time (0-0) was still fair. After all, in the final quarter of the first half, a sharp counterend Standard came up considerably. Heynen trumped the broken Klauss in extremis, Vandevoordt gracefully floated a header from Laifis out of his goal.
Just before half time, Genk lost its captain. Star Bryan Heynen groped for the left groin with a painful grimace and had to be replaced by Oyen. Thorstvedt dropped to the position next to Hrosovsky.
Tough at the start of the second half for Genk
The absence of the captain weighed heavily in the early stages of the second half. With dire consequences: Standard took advantage of the preponderance to open the score. Lucumi, who had previously received his fifth yellow card of the season, just missed a measured cross from Gavory, allowing Klauss to finish quietly. The Brazilian was flagged for offside but the VAR put the yardstick on the right side for the Rouches: 0-1.
An upset home team quickly hit back. Thanks to an overconfident Raskin, who lost the ball to Thorstvedt. The new captain Bongonda opened nicely on Ito, whose sprint and diagonal bang approached perfection (1-1).
Suddenly the gate was off the dam. A reborn home team threw the engine into sixth gear and went on and over. With an untenable Ito in the lead. At first, Onuachu again missed the perfect backward assist from close range, as substitute Siquet swept the ball off the line. But less than a minute later Ito himself mercilessly struck on an assist from Arteaga (2-1).
The three-pointer was within reach for the home team, but a double offensive substitution by Leye was the basis of a final plot twist. Muleka, who has just come in, heads a perfect pass from Klauss against the nets at the first post (2-2).
It was the introduction to a wonderfully chaotic finale. In which Oyen was blocked in extremis but Amallah was the closest to victory. His pegel exploded on the post, so that everyone could agree with a draw after an attractive viewing piece.