Antwerp can fill with confidence towards the vital final match day: both duels in Genk were won each time this season

Vincent Janssen is delirious with joy after his goal against Union. — © BELGIUM

The draw against Union on Sunday made a big impact The Great Old. De Bosuil prepared for a historic party evening/night characterized by singing and dancing supporters and liters of booze flowing down their throats. After the game, however, the team from Antwerp went back home somewhat disappointed. This Sunday Antwerp gets a last chance in Genk. A confrontation that she brought to a successful conclusion twice in the past. A look back.

Brent Kusé

The Champions’ Play-offs proves its worth more than ever. Bringing more excitement and sensation to the spectators in the stadium and to the viewers glued to their television screens. You have opponents everywhere, but now we are heading for the most exciting title fight in years. Three teams still have a chance at first place and compete directly against each other. A ten-man Union’s late equalizer was a bitter pill to swallow for The Great Old. The title stress seems to be creeping in with Van Bommel’s men after the earlier loss on the field of Club Brugge. On Sunday in Genk, Antwerp has to finish the job. A small boost: in the competition they have already done that trick twice.

Calvin Stengs is disappointed after Union’s late equalizer, he will not be there on Sunday due to a suspension. — © Isosport

11/01/2023: KRC Genk – Royal Antwerp FC 0-3 (Quarter finals Croky Cup)

Before the winter break, Genk waltzes through the competition. 46 on 54, seven points ahead of closest pursuer Union. Antwerp already has a ten-point deficit to make up for. Wouter Vrancken puts his pawns so perfectly that few opponents have an answer to offer. The best attack and the best defense of all teams. Even after the winter break, the Limburgers just pick up the thread again. The top game against Club Brugge – blue and black tries to bring a new wind with the appointment of Scott Parker – is easily won (3-1). In the quarterfinals of the Croky Cup, Genk will start as the absolute favorite against Antwerp.

The cup is not the competition. After just three minutes, the league leader has to chase after a striking counter-attack from The Great Old. Game distributor Stengs played the detached Janssen at the right time, who did not hesitate and catapulted the ball high into the goal. From then on, Antwerp played football in a seat with their characteristic closed organization. No team in the league that can defend a lead like The Great Old. Just before the break, De Laet gives the Genkenaars a cold shower by blazing the 0-2 against the nets. Balikwisha’s goal later in the match takes away all Genk’s hopes.

Vincent Janssen hits the 0-1 against the nets. — © Isosport

Balikwisha puts the match in a final fold with the third Antwerp goal of the evening. — © BELGIUM

“We were beaten by a better opponent who was much sharper today”, Vrancken admits after the match. “Aggressive, good football with a lot of strength, that’s how I prefer to see my team,” says Van Bommel. The closed organization and the brand new Stengs-Vermeeren duo in midfield seems to be the key to an Antwerp success.

12/02/2023: KRC Genk – Royal Antwerp FC 0-1 (regular competition)

A month later, both teams face each other in the regular season. There is one major absentee at Genk. Ex-Golden Boot Paul Onuachu decides to pursue his dream and signs for Southampton in the Premier League. His loss will ultimately cost Genk precious points in the second round of the competition. The match is completely different – ​​Genk is clearly the better team – but has the same outcome: three points for Van Bommel and his players. A ball on the post, on the crossbar and away from the goal line. They call it winning on a thief. “On character”, according to Van Bommel.

Mike Trésor cannot hide his disappointment after the new defeat against Antwerp. — © Dick Demey

Gyrano Kerk scored the only goal of the match from Antwerp’s only chance. And that after an error of judgment by Arteaga on a long ball. Efficiency (and happiness) at its best. Simply trumped in all other aspects, but in football it is ultimately all about goals. Now, we have to give credit where we can. Besides Union, Antwerp is the only team to win in the regular competition in the Cegeka Arena. Furthermore, Sint-Truiden is also the only team that was able to curb the offensive whirlwind of the Genk team. Twice even. A feather in the cap for the Antwerp organization and in particular for the defensive duo Alderweireld – Pacho.

Gyrano Kerk played a mediocre game but still became match winner with his goal. — © BELGIUM

The two dress rehearsals have already been brought to a successful conclusion. It’s up to Antwerp to be there too when the show begins.

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