Genk hold Chelsea in Belgium
Chelsea squandered a lead as they were pegged back in their UEFA Champions League group to draw 1-1 with Genk.
By James Riach @James_Riach
Last Updated: 01/11/11 10:25pm
Chelsea squandered a lead in Belgium as they were pegged back in their UEFA Champions League group following a 1-1 draw in Genk.
Ramires broke the deadlock after a neat one-two with Fernando Torres in the 26th minute as Andre Villas Boas's side took control of proceedings.
Raul Meireles struck the woodwork but it was David Luiz who had the best opportunity to double the lead, the Brazilian defender an unlikely penalty taker after Thomas Buffel's handball inside the area, but his effort was saved by Laszlo Koteles.
Genk came firing out of the blocks after the break and equalised in the 61st minute when Jelle Vossen slotted home after good work from Fabien Camus.
Chelsea had chances to win the game, but Meireles headed straight at Koteles before substitute Frank Lampard spurned a glorious opportunity from close range.
Villas-Boas made five changes to the starting XI that shipped five against Arsenal, with Lampard, Juan Mata, John Obi Mikel and Daniel Sturridge joining John Terry on the bench, as Nicolas Anelka, Meireles, Florent Malouda, David Luiz and Oriol Romeu came in.
The mark of the contrast to Saturday's meeting with the Gunners at Stamford Bridge was clear to see in a first half that started in first gear and only picked up after Ramires' opener.
Backed by a passionate crowd, Genk started brightly but 10 minutes of endeavour provided little threat - the story of the opening period for the Belgians.
Indeed, after an initial spell on the back foot, Chelsea soon found their rhythm and were causing their hosts problems out wide, Malouda particularly effective down the left.
Such was Genk's lack of adventure and deep defensive line that Chelsea were able to hold onto the ball with ease, but the opening goal still required a touch of quality.
Ramires played the ball into Torres before bursting through a square backline, and the Spaniard's return was a delightful touch over the top for his Brazilian team-mate who then fired low past Koteles in the 26th minute.
The assist appeared to galvanise Torres who had previously been industrious yet still dogged by the nervy trepidation that has blighted his game since his move to London.
But soon after the goal he fizzed an effort narrowly past the post from long range - confidence on the up, but he remained a shadow of his former self for the remainder of the game.
Chelsea were dictating the play and could, indeed perhaps should, have doubled their lead when Ramires headed an Ashley Cole cross wide at the far post, before the Genk defender Anthony Vanden Borre nearly inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net whilst blocking a Malouda pull-back from the byline.
The home side were under persistent pressure at this point and Meireles was inches away from a wonderful second, rattling the angle of post and bar with a thunderous effort from 25 yards out.
Luiz, though, was the unlikely figure who had the clearest chance to put Chelsea further in control of the game. Buffel blocked Malouda's cross with his arm just inside the penalty area, with the Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen pointing to the spot.
The Brazilian stepped up and hit the spot-kick to the goalkeeper's right, but Koteles tipped the ball wide with an impressive save.
Genk were a different team after the break. Chasing a first Champions League victory of the campaign, the home side were more energetic and dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Kevin De Bruyne scuffed a shot into the arms of Petr Cech after good work from Daniel Tozser, before Kennedy Nwanganga forced a smart stop from the Chelsea goalkeeper after a mazy run forward from the adventurous Vanden Borre.
The pressure paid off in the 61st minute when Vossen slotted home from inside the area after a precise low ball into the box from Camus. It was more like the Chelsea defence of recent games than the one of the first half.
Villas-Boas reacted by withdrawing Anelka and replacing him with Sturridge, as Lampard came on for Ramires, while Genk's Buffel was brought off for Dugari.
Meireles then headed straight at Koteles before De Bruyne picked up a yellow card for a poor challenge on Jose Bosingwa.
Juan Mata entered the fray at the expense of Romeu but it was the another substitute, Lampard, who missed the best chance to earn his side the three points - not making decisive contact from just yards out after decent play from Sturridge.Genk made two late changes to wind down the clock and almost conceded a calamitous late goal - Nadson somehow hacking the ball just wide after Malouda had lifted the ball past Koteles.
|KRC Genk||Team Statistics||Chelsea|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||7|
|3||Shots off Target||10|