Alex had decided on Abdoulay Diaby to lead the line against KRC Genk despite him not having been on the pitch since the winter break. He was a speedy enough operator and Alex hoped that he could use his speed to create some chances. He was unhappy when he heard this question.
“Abdoulay Diaby is on a fairly lengthy run without scoring a goal; can he break his his hoo doo here today?”
What Alex thought no one had mentioned that. Absolutely none of his players were in form in front of goal. He realised that his answer had to be more diplomatic. “He has been training well and I am confident that he can score and play a big part in a good performance today.”
He went back into the dressing room to give his final words of advice. “We haven’t been in great form recently but, we can kick on with a good performance and a win here.”
Alex took his seat next to Philippe and watched on as the game got underway. Alex almost fell asleep in the first half hour as both sides proved incapable of creating a decent change of having a shot on target. A long ball into the Brugge box was headed away by Denswil and fell to Buffel who chipped a pass in behind De Bock. As De Bock turned he realised that Kivrakidis was in behind him and about to get onto the ball. He just stuck his foot out to take him down. The referee instantly pointed to the spot and Alex couldn’t complain about it. But, he still did trying to sway the officials.
Butelle took his time getting on his line and ready to face the penalty to try and ratchet up the pressure. Buyens stepped up and fired the ball into the bottom corner. Despute Butelle diving the right way he had no chance and Brugge were behind and needed a goal which wasn’t good for a team with struggles like theirs in front of goal.
Vanaken stood over a free kick just in the Genk half two minutes later. He just squared the ball to Engels who played it wide to Meunier. He ran up the wing and played a 1-2 with Ebert. After skipping past his man he passed the ball back to the open Ebert, he took a touch and hit in a cross that Izquierdo blasted into the roof of the goal from close range. Alex punched the air as his side was level and not surprisingly the scorer wasn’t a striker,
The sides went into half time level and Alex exhorted his side to try and find the winner and be more accurate with their shots and try not to blast away from long range.
His players had clearly ignored him Alex surmised as the team seemed to be competing to see who could miss by further from 30 yards out. At least a couple of the Brugge efforts had worried their keeper. Butelle may as well have been planning his holidays for the summer.
Just after the hour mark Genk brought the ball down from a goal kick and moved quickly up the wing. An overlap gave Buyens space to cross in and he hit Kiyrakidis perfectly. Six yards out he took a touch before firing goalwards and right into Denswil’s thigh. The ball bounced away and was booted out for a throw in to keep it safe.
After the realisation that someone had actually done something smart the teams both recovered from the shock by firing away again form 30 yards. A battle Brugge won but, not by scoring just by having one effort on target. The game ended without another goal and the sides were level.
“What was with all the stupid shots from long range. When we got the ball down and tried to pass it round we looked good then you would waste it by smashing a shot way over from 30 yards. Decisions like that are why we haven’t won in 7 games and if you play like that against Anderlecht then I expect that it will be 8 games in a row without a win.”
The table looked quite bad and Alex knew that a defeat to Anderlecht would make it a lot harder for them to get into the second Champions League spot.