“Having to start the season against Kortrijk is not a gift,” thus coach Felice Mazzu. “Everybody will want to beat the reigning champion. But I’m satisfied with the way in which my players prepared the game. Kortrijk have power, speed and stature. It’s a tough opponent. The warm weather conditions might spoil the game. Playing in these circumstances is hard. With precise and fast combinations we will have to make Kortrijk run for the bal and stay fresh ourselves as long ass possible.”

Mazzu did have some problems in the offensive compartment. Bongonda and Ndongala were out injured. Younger players like Hagi, Nygren and Odey needed more time to adapt to the team and Belgian football altough the young Swede somewhat surprisingly made his debut in the Jupiler Pro League, as did Carlos Cuesta.

Kortrijk coach Yves Vanderhaeghe was realistic : “This is not the easiest game to start the season with. But we will try to get some points out of it. Our preparation was good, everything is there to make it a nice season.”

De Sart surprises with a kick from far.

Up until the first quarter nothing much happened. Except maybe a few corner kicks for Genk and a ball through by Benson to Nygren that didn’t find the Swede. Out of the blue, the visitors went ahead in the 14th minute. De Sart took a shot from thirty metres out and to everybod’s surprise, not in the least to that of goalkeeper Vukovic, the ball ended up in the net.

Ten minutes later, the Australian did well to fingertip a cross angled attempt from Golubovic  into corner. After that, the hometeam began creating chances. Headers from Nygren, Samatta and Cuesta narrowly went over the bar. With seven minutes to go in the first half Ito was unlucky. Uronen provided a cross from the left and the Japanese headed the ball from point blank range and off the hand of keeper Bruzzese onto the crossbar and back in the field. Moments later a strike from Benson went only centimetres wide. And so the halfway score was 0 - 1.

Youngsters Nygren and Hagi turn things around.

After four minutes in the second half took his chance when the ball bounced back off a defender but his attempt went over the bar. Two minutes later Nygren scored his first goal in the Genk shirt. At first Samatta’s header came off Bruzzese but in the rebound the Swede hammered the equalizer onto the scoreboard.

Shortly after Maehle advanced into the visitor’s rectangle and fount Ito. The Japanese hesitated too long and allowed Bruzzese to tip the ball into corner. Samatta headed the corner kick only slightly wide. On the opposite side Batsula produced an unexpected belter but this time Vukovic stood tall.

Paintsil came on to replace Benson and shortly after that coach Mazzy brought on Hagy for Nygren. That substituruin proved to be the right one. With fifteen minutes left on the clock Ito battled for the ball with two defenders but managed to put it back to Hagi. Ianis didn’t hesitate and scored the winning goal.

Kortrijk Vanderhaeghe brought on Ocansey en Ezekiel in an attempt to turn things around but the final offensive from the visitors never came. The first home win in the new season was ours.

KRC Genk line-up : Vukovic, Uronen, Dewaest, Cuesta, Maehle, Berge, Heynen, Nygren (74’ Hagi), Benson (64’ Paintsil), Ito (89’ Piotrowski) and Samatta.

KV Kortrijk line up : Bruzzese, Golubovic, Hines-Ike, Kagelmacher, Mboyo (71’ Ezekiel), Kage (54’ Ocansey), Van Der Bruggen, Ajagun (67’ Rolland), De Sart, Batsula and D’Haene.

Scoresheet :

14’ : 0 – 1 : De Sart
49’ : 1 – 1 : Nygren
76’ : 2 – 1 : Hagi

Yellow cards : 87’ Golubovic

Red cards :

Referee : Erik Lambrechts

Attendance : 16.120

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