“KV Mechelen play their first home game of the season. That will give them a boost. With a capacity crowd behind the team and probably some feelings of revenge after they've lost the Supercup against us I expect it to be a difficult game,” coach Mazzu said before the game. “The atmosphere in the stadium will be pretty hostile so it's necessary to take matters into our own hands right away and prevent Mechelen from getting into the game."
Headliner in this weeks news of course was the injury Danny Vukovic suffered. Our Australian goalkeeper ruptured the Achilles tendon of his left leg and is out for a long time. “This was a shock for the entire Genk family” thus the coach. “Everybody wishes him the best of luck. Danny is a great guy and a strong person. We count on him to come back stronger than ever before.”
Because of Vukovic's absence Mazzu had to rely on youngster Gaëtan Coucke. “I'm convinced he is going to do well. I have seen him on the job a couple of times myself and Tom Van Imschoot, his former coach, as well as Guy Martens assured me that he is doing a good job. I'm very confident.”
There was one question left to be answered : Will Mazzy start rotating his team already? “That is possible in the future. The calendar is becoming busier and some players deserve to be on the pitch. I'm not sure yet if this is going to happen against Mechelen."
Eventually Mazzu only made one change, except from Coucke for Vukovic : Paintsil was in the starting line up instead of Benson.
KV Mechelen coach Wouter Vrancken was realistic: “We know it won't be easy. But the game is different from the Superup. It is our first home game since quite a while. Moreover, a number of uncertainties have disappeared. The 3 - 0 defeat in Genk is already forgotten and we took a lot of confidence from last week's win in Waregem.
Vrancken saw the return of Bateau and immediately incorporated him into the match selection . Dante Vanzeir arrived on loan from KRC Genk but was not allowed to play this game. Castro, Tainmont and Lemoine were unavailable.
Samatta makes up for the 1 - 0 by Togui just before the halftime whistle.
The first shot on target came from Storm in the eleventh minute. His attempt from far out was pushed away by Coucke. Genk immediately replied with a Scandinavian combination. Berge found Maehle, his cross reached Nygren and the young Swede took the shot. Goalkeeper Thoelen saved. After 18 minutes Mechelen went ahead. Engvall stumbled passed Berge, provided the cross and in front of goal Togui headed the ball into the net. Five minutes later a slight hesitation in the Genk defense yielded Storm an opportunity. His shot at an angle was fingertipped into corner by Coucke
On the half hour Uronen took a shot from a deflected corner, Thoelen had no difficulty stopping it. After Engvall's strike went wide, Paintsil showed his speed. He then fast tracked past the Mechelen defense but his ball square to Ito was deflected into corner. Minutes before the half time whistle Mechelen went for a fast turnover. Storm took the shot but Coucke showed himself a worthy replacement for Vukovic. An attempt on the rebound landed on Bryan Heynen's body from close range. Mechelen claimed a penalty but referee Van Driessche did'nt allow it.
At the insistence of the Mechelen players he consulted the VAR screen but stood by his decision. Good for us because seconds later Heynen was allowed to take a free kick. Engvall miskicked the ball trying to clear it and Paintsil took the shot. Thoelen managed to punch it from the top right angle of the goal. Samatta came running to head Heynen's corner into the far corner. 1 - 1 was the halfway score.
Engvall and De Camargo keep three points in Mechelen.
At halftime Ianis Hagi came on to replace Nygren. The second half started sloppy on both sides. It wasn't until the hour that we witnessed the first dangerous situation. Berge found Paintsil on the left, Joseph advanced into the centre of the pitch but saw his attempt at goal stopped by Thoelen. The hometeam starting pressing and Genk only dealt with it sporadically. Coach Mazzu tried to do something about that by bringing on Benson instead of Ito.
But it was the home team who went ahead. After a magnificent combination on the right and a cunning backheel by Schoofs, Engvall managed to put his team in front with little less than fifteen minutes to go. Five minutes later De Camargo killed the game. A swift ball through by Engvall put the Belgo Brazilian alone in front of Coucke. He didn't miss.
Odey came on to replace Paintsil and that narrowly yielded the goal of hope for Genk but Thoelen punched his header from under the bar acrobatically. The game ended in a 3 - 1 defeat.
KV Mechelen line up : Thoelen, Bijker, Van Cleemput, Swinkels, Kaya, Togui (71’ De Camargo), Storm, Van Damme (22’ Corryn), Schoofs, Engvall (88’ Bateau) and Peyre.
KRC Genk line up : Coucke, Uronen, Dewaest, Cuesta, Maehle, Berge, Heynen, Nygren (45’ Hagi), Paintsil (82’ Odey), Ito (72’ Benson) en Samatta
18’ : 1 – 0 : Togui
45’ + 5’ : 1 – 1 : Samatta
77’ : 2 – 1 : Engvall
81’ : 3 – 1 : De Camargo
Yellow cards : 54’ Engvall
Red cards : /
Referee : Bram Van Driessche