KAS Eupen’s impressive four-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday with a 2-0 defeat at Genk.
Much was expected from “Les Pandas” after last week’s impressive 4-2 win over Sint-Truiden, but they once again failed to solve their defensive problems, and now have the second worst defensive record in the Jupiler Pro League this season, conceding 35 Goals in 15 matches.
The defeat could have been heavier but for a brilliant performance from goalkeeper Hendrik Van Crombrugge who produced at least three crucial saves to deny Leon Bailey before parrying away substitute Mbwana Samatta’s header in the closing minutes of the game.
Genk also hit the post twice through Nikolaos Karelis.
Fahad Al Abdul Rahman, who was recently called up for the Qatar national team, started his 14th league game this season, but he struggled to cope with the speed and strength of Bailey.
The 19-year-old Jamaican winger was without doubt the man of the match at Luminus Arena. His teasing cross from the right flank in the 20th minute ended with an own goal from Ibrahim Diallo, then seven minutes from the break he was the first to react after his effort was blocked by Van Crombrugge, setting up Alejandro Pozuelo for the winner.
Anthony Bassey’s long range efforts were the only real threat for the home side, and the Nigerian midfielder – who made his first start since matchday nine in early October – came close to scoring his first league goal of the season with a rasping left-footed strike that rattled the crossbar in the final seconds of the match.
Despite the defeat, Eupen are still eleventh in the league table with 15 points, and a win next week against bottom-of-the-table Westerlo will further strengthen their hopes of securing another season in the top flight.
Genk 2-0 Eupen
20′ 1-0 Diallo (o.g)
38′ 2-0 Pozuelo
Genk: Marco Bizot; Jakub Barbec, Bojan Nastic, Omar Colley, Timothy Castagne; Onyinye Ndidi, Thomas Buffel (Leandro Trossard 78′), Tino-sven Susic (Bryan Heynen 66′), Alejandro Pozuelo, Leon Bailey; Nikolaos Karelis (Mbwana Samatta 84′)
Eupen: Alejandro Van Crombrugge; Siebe Blondelle (Peter Hackenberg , Ibrahim Diallo, Fahad Al Abdul Rahman, Diawandou Diagne; Anthony Bassey, Lazare Amani (Guy Dufour 86′), Luis Garcia, Eric Ocansey, Henry Onyekuru; Mamadou Sylla (Florian Taulemesse 81′)
Yellow Cards: Amani (Eupen)
Referee: Alexandre Boucaut