AA Gent crowns itself the winner of Europe Play-offs after a deserved victory against Genk and makes the play-off final unnecessary

AA Gent crowns itself the winner of Europe Play-offs after a deserved victory against Genk and makes the play-off final unnecessary

The Genk hope of still obtaining a European ticket via the Europe Play-offs and the jump-off match with the number four of the Champions’ Play-offs is shattered. AA Gent took revenge for the defeat in the Ghelamco Arena and put Genk on an unbridgeable gap of seven points. The overall victory in the Europe Play-offs can therefore no longer escape Ghent. Antwerp breathes a sigh of relief and can thus enter the second preliminary round of the Conference League.

Three substitutions for the home team: Vandevoordt, Bongonda and Thorstvedt kicked off at the expense of Leysen, Paintsil and Hrosovsky. The Buffalos were missing an injured Okumu and Ngadeu was absent due to illness. Torunarigha returned from injury, while Tissoudali also started again in comparison to last Tuesday in Mechelen.

Before the start of the match, there were still the necessary formalities to be completed. Onuachu was handed his Golden Shoe and Ito was honored by the Genk fans as the most deserving player of the past season. Clubman in heart and soul Pierre Denier said goodbye in his role as team manager.

The home team immediately went on the attack and very emphatically looked for Onuachu as a point of contact, but it was Ghent that signed for the first chance of scoring: Samoise made a good pass from the back line and finished well until Odjidja, but the Ghent captain decided over. Moments later, Odjidja went down in the Genk sixteen, but ref Laforge rightly did not intervene.




Photo: BELGA



Gent gradually took control of the match and, under the impulse of Odjidja and Tissoudali, they put together some fine combinations. In the zone of truth, however, Vanhaezebrouck’s team lacked a tad of accuracy to really put Vandevoordt to work. After half an hour, it was hit: Samoise played on Tissoudali in the Genk sixteen, who played the ball between Cuesta’s legs and left Vandevoordt without a chance in the far corner (0-1).

The Buffalos now smelled blood and Samoise ventured a rush of more than 50 meters, but unlike in the regular competition, the Ghent youngster was unable to complete his effort. Munoz kept up with him and thus thwarted a doubling of the Ghent bonus. Genk couldn’t do anything about it for a long time, but on a corner it became dangerous for once, but Ouattara’s header flew over Roef’s cage.

AA Gent crowns itself the winner of Europe Play-offs after a deserved victory against Genk and makes the play-off final unnecessary




Photo: BELGA



At halftime, both trainers intervened. After Storck was forced to replace Bongonda with Oyen shortly before the break, the German also brought in Hrosovsky and Tresor for Thorstvedt and Ouattara. Vanhaezebrouck replaced a pale Lemajic with De Sart.

Odjidja shatters Genk’s European dream

The first attempt of the second half came from Heynen, but on a pass from Munoz, the Ghent captain’s header went well over. At Ghent it was a bit of a search because with the replacement of Lemajic, Odjidja played football next to Tissoduali and this required some adjustment with his teammates. At the first counter-punch in Ghent, it was almost a hit: Tissoudali and Odjidja happily went on an adventure, but Tissoudali finally decided on Vandevoordt.

The tandem Odjidja-Tissoudali did provide a spectacle: the Ghent captain released the top scorer of the Buffalos in front of goal, but the top scorer of the Buffalos failed to decide the match. On the other side, Onuachu limply headed into Roef’s hands. Ghent had to systematically back up more and more and Genk appeared more and more often – without becoming really dangerous – in the vicinity of the Ghent sixteen.

AA Gent crowns itself the winner of Europe Play-offs after a deserved victory against Genk and makes the play-off final unnecessary




Foto:  Dick Demey



And then the light at the Genk defense went out for a while. Sadick had only just been taken off by StorckSadick had just been pulled off by Storck or Tissoudali had lost the local defense with one pass. Odjidja gratefully accepted the gift and doubled Ghent’s lead.

Genk was now exhausted in the ropes and the visitors could finish the game with peace of mind. The Ghent fans who traveled with them threw a small party and emphatically put their success coach Vanhaezebrouck in the flowers. However, it remains to be seen whether he will also start the new season as head coach of AA Gent within five weeks.

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