Racing Genk 1-0 Anderlecht (1-1 AET. Genk win 7-6 on penalties): A tale of two goalkeepers
Racing Genk goalkeeper Köteles László was the hero as he scored the winning penalty to send his side into the Belgian Cup final at the expense of Anderlecht. In a cruel twist of fate, his opposite number Silvio Proto saved three times in a dramatic shootout before missing himself. Mario Been’s side will meet the winner of the other semi between Kortrijk and Cercle Brugge.
John van den Brom had promised changes following the defeat to Zulte Waregem and he sprung a surprise by selecting Denis Odoi at right-back, with Guillaume Gillet reprising a right wing role he often played under Ariël Jacobs. Mario Been welcomed back Jeroen Simaeys while Elyaniv Barda was handed a welcome start upfront in support of the now fit Jelle Vossen.
It was noticeable in the early stages how Genk sought to emulate the success of Club Brugge in shutting down Biglia – the Argentine played deeper than De Zeeuw but Hyland then played a little higher as a result. De Zeeuw for his part had some good touches but was guilty of giving the ball away on one occasion, which directly led to a Genk chance.
Anderlecht had a goal disallowed in the eighteenth minute as Dieumerci Mbokani was marginally offside following a well-worked move involving Dennis Praet and Milan Jovanovic, which deserved better. Shortly after, Jelle Vossen evaded his marker and shot narrowly wide for the hosts.
There was controversy towards the end of a first-half in which neither side had a legitimate shot on target. Gillet caught Steeven Joseph-Monrose with a shin high tackle but escaped punishment as the incident was not picked up by the officials.
Genk upped the tempo after the break. Oli Deschacht got into a tangle, allowing Kalidou Koulibaly a free downward header, which Proto saved before Buffel left the Anderlecht left-back trailing in his wake before being denied by the Anderlecht goalkeeper.
The match then took another contentious turn as Anderlecht went down to ten men. After an aerial battle with Simaeys, Mbokani kicked out at the Genk defender behind him. Following consultation with his assistant, referee Alexandre Boucaut produced the red card.
A bad situation was made even worse when Genk took the lead on the night and levelled the tie on aggregate. Monrose cleverly cushioned his header towards Barda before Vossen took over and stabbed the ball past Proto from close range, thus marking his return in style.
Anderlecht boss van den Brom responded as against Standard by sacrificing Praet in order to put Tom De Sutter upfront on his own. A winning goal in normal time proved elusive for both sides and we were thus treated to thirty minutes of extra time.
The closest either side came to scoring in the first period of extra time was when substitute Marcin Wasilewski hit the post with a free kick, which then had to be retaken after fellow replacement Jordy Croux was penalised for encroachment.
A marginally offside De Sutter looked to have the perfect chance to send Anderlecht through. Jovanovic played him in with an exquisite ball but instead of shooting, he chose to square it to Gillet, which allowed Koulibaly to save the day for Genk. Gillet was later denied by a fantastic save from Hungarian goalkeeper Köteles László, who threw himself to his left to keep the header out.
There then followed a pulsating penalty shootout, which came down to the two goalkeepers. Milan Jovanovic never wanted to take a spot kick but was required to in sudden death. The highest paid player then struck the outside of the post. I bow to no-one in being a fan of the charismatic Serb but his attitude was an absolute disgrace and he could take a leaf out of Proto’s book. Proto lost his footing at the most untimely of moments but it would be unjust to lay the blame for this defeat at his feet. Köteles then kept his cool and sparked wild celebrations among the home players and fans alike. Perhaps it was inevitable that Anderlecht would succumb to a shootout given that they have already missed an incredible nine penalties in regular play this season.
Who says the Belgian Cup is dead?!
Penalties – watch here
Lucas Biglia hit the bar, 0-0.
Gorius scores, 1-0 Genk.
Nuytinck scores, 1-1.
Hyland scores, 2-1 Genk.
Gillet scores, 2-2.
Plet…saved by Proto, 2-2.
Wasilewski scores, 3-2 Anderlecht.
Vossen scores, 3-3.
De Sutter scores, 4-3.
Simaeys scores, 4-4.
Odoi over the bar, 4-4.
Koulibaly…saved by Proto, 4-4.
Jovanovic hit the post, 4-4.
Anele, saved by Proto, 4-4.
Kouyaté scores, 5-4 Anderlecht.
Tshimanga scores, 5-5.
Deschacht scores, 6-5 Anderlecht.
Croux scores, 6-6.
Proto loses his footing and shoots wide, 6-6.
Köteles scores, 7-6 Genk.