Club beat Genk 3-2 in top game
Club Brugge blew the title race wide open after beating Genk 3-2. Dewaest broke the deadlock for the visitors after four minutes, but with second-half goals by Vanaken, Openda and Diatta Club were in the driving seat again. Gano halved the deficit in the closing minutes, but the blue and black survived until the final whistle. Thanks to this victory, Club are now only three points behind Genk.
Ivan Leko made two changes to his side that had beaten AA Gent last week. Clinto Mata - back from suspension - claimed his spot in defence, forcing Benoît Poulain out and Siebe Schrijvers starred in Leko's battle plan again which meant that Sofyan Amrabat was on the substitutes' bench again. Krépin Diatta, who stayed in the dressing room at Gent at half-time due to an injury, was fit again. The Senegalese and Dennis had to create lots of danger via the wing.
In a rocking Jan Breydel the blue and black wanted to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but it was Genk who struck home almost instantly. Trossared found Sébastien Dewaest unmarked at the far post and the defender netted the ball into the top corner.
Club responded immediately, but Vukovic saved Diatta's effort and Vormer's volley went wide. Genk was dangerous on the break, but Ito failed to keep his shot on target.
The visitors would be the new champions with this score. So Club had no alternative but to attack. Wesley aimed Schrijvers' cross wide at goal, Diatta saw two shots sail wide and Rits' effort was blocked by Aidoo. Club upped their tempo, but Genk defended well. Just before the half-time whistle Dennis tried his luck, but the Nigerian's shot trickled wide.
Leko must have produced a very inspiring half-way team talk, because the players upped their tempo even more in the second half. Vukovic saved an effort by Dennis, but was no match to the powerful header from Vanaken on Vormer's corner kick.
The equaliser boosted the moral of every Club Brugge player. Dennis headed Vanaken's corner over the crossbar and Diatta just couldn't capitalize on a Vormer cross. On the other side of the pitch Horvath parried away a dangerous effort by Malinovskyi.
Club were not sattisfied with a draw and struck home twice shortly after the hour mark. Wesley feeded Diatta on the left-hand side, The Senegalese found substitute Loïs Openda in front of goal who tapped into the far corner.
Jan Breydel was rocking and a few minutes later the blue and black had a two-goal cushion when Clinton Mata powered through on the right-hand side, swung the ball in front of goal and saw Diatta take it on to fire it home.
What a goal! What a comeback!
Club could have killed the game when referee Van Den Driessche pointed to the spot after consulting with the VAR, but Vanaken aimed it against the crossbar. Genk were not ready to give up yet. Heynen and Maehle couldn't score, but three minutes before the end Gano headed a corner kick against the back of the net. Vormer with an immediate response, but the Dutchman curled the ball just wide of the far post.
In the closing minutes Samatta came close to equalise, but his header ended against the upright.
Club keep the three points home and close the gap with Genk to three points.
Jupiler Pro League – Play-Off I, fixture 8
Attendance: 28.000 – Jan Breydelstadion
Referee: Bram Van Driessche
Club Brugge: Ethan Horvath – Clinton Mata, Brandon Mechele, Stefano Denswil – Emmanuel Dennis (83’ Benoît Poulain), Ruud Vormer, Mats Rits (92’ Sofyan Amrabat), Hans Vanaken, Krépin Diatta – Siebe Schrijvers (59’ Loïs Openda), Wesley Moraes. Bench: Karlo Letica, Luan Peres, Jelle Vossen, Marvelous Nakamba, Saulo Decarli en Arnaut Danjuma. Coach: Ivan Leko.
KRC Genk: Danny Vukovic – Joakim Maehle, Joseph Aidoo, Sébastien Dewaest, Jere Uronen – David Heynen (86’ Zinho Gano), Sander Berge, Ruslan Malinovskyi – Junya Ito (84’ Joseph Paintsil), Ally Samatta, Leandro Trossard. Coach: Philippe Clement.
Yellow cards: Diatta.
Red cards: none
Goals: 4’ Dewaest (0-1), 53’ Vanaken (1-1), 63’ Openda (2-1), 67’ Diatta (3-1), 87’ Gano (3-2).
Report - Steven Floin