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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 18 February, 2019
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Good evening and welcome to the Luminus Stadium for our live coverage of the first leg of Cork City’s Europa League third round qualifier against KRC Genk. Stick with us throughout the evening and we’ll keep you up to date on events here in Belgium. Kick-off is at the top of the hour (7pm Irish time).

Cork City stick with the same team that started last week’s 1-0 win against BK Hacken at Turner’s Cross, which means that Greg Bolger has been passed fit to play again despite carrying an ankle injury.

Genk, who progressed via a penalty shootout at the expense of Buducnost Podgorica in Montenegro seven days ago, have made three changes. Sandy Walsh, Dries Wouters and Alejandro Pozuelo come in for Timothy Castagne, Yoni Buyens (both injured) and Bennard Kumordzi (suspended).

Beautiful evening for a game of football here in Genk, 23 degrees celsius according to that weather app on the iPhone that you can never find when you need it. They’re expecting a crowd of around 10,000 at the 21,500-capacity Luminus Arena.

The players are going through their warm-ups at the moment, soundtracked by some very dodgy techno music being blasted out through the PA system. Continental Europeans love techno more than bishops love sci-fi.

Cork City have already earned €675,000 in prize money for making it this far in the Europa League — a whopping sum considering they earned just €55,000 for finishing second in the Premier Division last season — but there’s another €230,000 waiting for them, and a play-off for a place in the group stages, if they can manage to see off Genk. A good result tonight would set John Caulfield’s side up for next Thursday’s second leg at Turner’s Cross (7.45pm).

Genk sold their player of the year from last season, centre-half Christian Kabasele, to Watford earlier this month, but they still have plenty of quality. Ally Samatta (Tanzania) and Nikolas Karelis (Greece) are both senior international strikers, playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo played in the Premier League with Swansea City, 18-year-old winger Leon Bailey has reportedly attracted interest from Chelsea, and their captain is former Rangers and Feyenoord midfielder Thomas Buffel, who was capped 36 times by Belgium.

Here’s where the Cork City fans are situated, although there’s a good few more of them who have yet to emerge from the bars…

slack_for_ios_upload_1024 Source: The42

We’re underway in Belgium.

Here’s how the teams are lining up…

KRC Genk: Marco Bizot; Sandy Walsh, Sebastien Dewaest, Dries Wouters, Jere Uronen; Thomas Buffel, Wilfred Ndidi, Alejandro Pozuelo, Leon Bailey; Ally Samatta, Nikolas Karelis.

Cork City: Mark McNulty; Michael McSweeney, Alan Bennett, Kenny Browne, Kevin O’Connor; Greg Bolger (c); Stephen Dooley, Garry Buckley, Gearoid Morrissey, Steven Beattie; Sean Maguire.

3Mins

Bright start from City. Seeing plenty of the ball and look comfortable in possession.

4Mins

Bolger’s free puts Genk under pressure, Beattie then gets a cross in but the goalkeeper gathers it easily.

7Mins

Buffel’s cross is headed just wide by Pozuelo. Good chance for Genk.

7Mins

Genk settling into the game now. Uronen’s low cross cleared by Morrissey.

10Mins

Pozuelo plays in Karelis but the Greek international’s low shot from the edge of the box is well off target.

11Mins

Free-kick for City in a good position out on the right but Bolger tried to be too clever by playing a short one and the visitors are dispossessed.

12Mins

Good strike by Beattie from wide on the right forces a save from the keeper. Now City have a corner.

14Mins

O’Connor’s corner finds the head of Maguire but he can’t keep it on target. Great chance for City.

18Mins

The Cork City supporters are making great noise high up in the corner behind the Genk goal and they’ll be happy with how their team has performed so far.

21Mins

Bolger’s free from the right is too heavy and Genk are able to clear the danger.

23Mins

Midway through the opening half and it’s been positive for City so far.

23Mins

Great tackle in the box by Beattie to block a shot by Genk’s Bailey.

25Mins

Dooley dispossesses Sandy Walsh and tries to play in Maguire but he’s unable to bring it under control.

27Mins

“We forgot that you were here” chant the Cork City supporters as the Genk fans try to spur their team into action.

26Mins

Ambitious long-range effort from Karelis is way off target.

30Mins

There’s the opener for the hosts, which they probably haven’t deserved. Pozuelo passed to Karelis, who played in Bailey and the 18-year-old Jamaican finished emphatically.

Harsh on Cork City, who were punished for coughing up possession in their first real lapse in concentration.

36Mins

Here’s the Genk goal, via eir Sport.

36Mins

Free by Pozuelo from the right finds Samatta and his volley forces a good save from McNulty.

39Mins

Great work from Morrissey gets the ball to Maguire in the box but his shot is blocked.

39Mins

Samatta releases Bailey and he produces a good save from McNulty. It would have been a carbon copy of his goal had it found the net.

41Mins

Beautiful ball over the top by Pozuelo finds Bailey but he’s unable to control it. Genk have their tails up now.

42Mins

O’Connor’s shot from the edge of the box takes a deflection off Walsh but Bizot is able to make the save without too much trouble.

45Mins

Two minutes of additional time to be played at the end of the first half.

47Mins

Free-kick in a good position for Cork City out on the left, Bolger swings it in but it’s away for a corner. Dooley takes it, the keeper punches clear and Beattie’s volley goes over the bar.

46Mins

Here we go for the second half.

47Mins

Good work down the left by Dooley, then O’Connor, earns City a corner but Bizot punches clear.

54Mins

Great play by City. Bolger plays in Beattie down the right, his low cross finds Maguire but his first-time effort goes just over.

57Mins

Excellent work down the left by Dooley and he tees up O’Connor, who cuts in and his right-footed shot needs a good save from Bizot.

58Mins

Genk break at the other end and Bailey’s cross is just too high for Samatta. A let-off for City.

58Mins

Glorious chance for City as Maguire does well to get in behind the defence and find space but his left-footed effort is just wide.

63Mins

This has been a really good performance by Cork City so far. Unfortunately that one lapse in concentration has cost them but they’re creating plenty of openings to get back into it.

65Mins

O’Connor’s in-swinging corner is cleared for another from the opposite side. Alan Bennett gets a head on it from Dooley but Genk clear.

67Mins

Yellow card for Bennett for a foul on Bailey just outside the box. Free-kick in a dangerous area for Genk. Pozuelo takes it but it’s a comfortable save for McNulty.

66Mins

The attendance here at the Luminus Arena is 7,765.

69Mins

Now a yellow card for Maguire for a foul on Samatta. Another dangerous free-kick for Genk.

70Mins

The referee is starting to lose control of this one a little bit. Bailey’s effort is blocked.

72Mins

Neeskens Kebano replaces Nikolas Karelis for Genk.

73Mins

Great work again by Dooley tees up Morrissey and his effort is inches wide.

75Mins

Bailey’s free-kick from the right leads to a scramble in the box, culminating in an overhead kick from Ndidi going over the bar.

78Mins

Brilliant curled effort from Bailey from just outside the box goes narrowly wide. That was very close.

79Mins

Maguire cuts it back with Genk claiming the ball had gone out, but Beattie’s shot goes wide nevertheless.

83Mins

Danny Morrissey is on for City in place of Steven Beattie.

86Mins

Mark O’Sullivan on now in place of Maguire as McNulty makes a great save from Samatta.

89Mins

Kebano tries to release Bailey but his pass is too heavy and City escape.

90Mins

Three minutes to be added on.

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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