KV Mechelen continued the good trend of recent weeks against Racing Genk, although this time it ended in a 1-1 draw. Orokodare gave the Limburgers the lead against the run of play, after which Schoofs put the final score on the board before half time. Malinwa remains undefeated in 2024 and comes one point closer to salvation, while RC Genk makes little progress in the battle for the Champions’ Play-offs.
The year 2024 has looked completely different from a sporting perspective for both clubs. While KV Mechelen got off to the best start this year with a ten out of twelve together with Union (now eleven out of fifteen, ed.), 2024 has not been a high-flyer for Racing Genk so far. They only managed two points from four games. Only AA Gent and RWDM performed worse.
The Mechelen starting eleven was somewhat surprising. Hasi once again opted for three central defenders, pushing newcomer Garananga Walsh out of the starting lineup. Antonio was preferred over Pflücke. For the Genk team, Wouter Vrancken dropped the trio Cuesta, Galarza and Arokodare into the starting eleven.
Twenty minutes of one-way football
The initial phase perfectly showed which team was in the positive spiral. KV Mechelen monopolized the ball and RC Genk ran behind the ball. Antonio and Foulon found themselves in an interesting shooting position early in the game, but Vandevoordt had not yet taken action. He had to do that for the first time when Hairemans dropped a free kick into the small sixteen. When the visitors did have the ball, they handled it very carelessly. Sobol in particular had a hard time on the left with the quick Antonio. A new acceleration from the Zimbabwean left the Ukrainian on the spot, but luckily for Genk he missed his shot completely afterwards. Just like Mrabti a little later. You already heard it, we watched one-way football for the first twenty minutes.
Halfway through the first half, RC Genk seemed to restore balance, although Schoofs scored again with a volley. The ball disappeared high over. Malinwa certainly could and should have scored one, because Genk’s first chance was an instant hit. Paintsil cleverly provoked a free kick in a sprint duel with Foulon. Via Heynen, McKenzie and the post, the ball ended up in the feet of Arokodare, who could no longer miss. A very flattering lead for the Limburgers. Yellow-red was taken aback for a moment, because Genk suddenly took the upper hand. It was fortunate that Heynen – all alone – scored the 0-2 goal moments later.
Genk protested in vain at 1-1
What KV Mechelen failed to achieve during a strong first quarter, suddenly succeeded. Antonio – again – threw the ball in front of goal, Mrabti headed back and Schoofs controlled his sixth of the season. Much to the protest of Vrancken, who did not wrongly complain about a previous pushing error by Lauberbach on Hrosovsky. The VAR did not intervene and so after a pleasant first half we went into halftime with a 1-1 score.
The first act was pleasant and the second half also started promisingly. Arokodare and Mrabti could not complete a nice collective attack from their team. Arokodare headed over again moments later. Just before the hour mark we saw the debut of Islam Slimani, who, like Konaté, was allowed to come on. However, the Algerian would no longer get into scoring position. Contrary to expectations, the match ended afterwards. There were moments that made the crowd jump for a moment and El Ouahdi also got away well when he pushed hard on Foulon’s ankle and escaped a second yellow. However, in our opinion, both goalkeepers were given too little work to do, so the score remained 1-1. For yellow-red another point in the battle for retention, while RC Genk is not making much progress with their point in the battle for the Champions’ Play-offs.