With the anthem playing and the teams striding out, there was a definite European feel to the occasion at Franz-Kremer-Stadion. After Marvin Obuz cut in from the right, his effort deflected into the air. Maximilian Schmid eyed up his chance and sent an acrobatic volley from 12 yards sailing toward the top corner, with Vic Chambaere powerless to prevent it from nestling in the net.
Genk were looking dangerous on the counter, but it wasn’t until the 20th minute where they truly tested the FC defence. Jonas Urbig had to be alert to deny Sekou Diawara, who had been cleverly played in behind by András Németh. The resulting corner fell for the Genk forward. Yet he failed to direct his header on target. Joshua Schwirten issued a warning at the other end, as his free-kick was tipped over.
From there, the game developed into an end-to-end affair. Urbig and Chambaere were in fine form between the sticks where barely a breath could be drawn. However, in the 36th minute, Genk found an equaliser. After Urbig expertly denied Németh’s deflected drive, Diawara was able to pounce and power home from close range.
Unfortunately for FC, Genk would strike twice late on. After a mix up at the back, Kelvin John managed to get a foot onto a stray pass and poke into an open net. Just as Marvin Obuz almost scored the equaliser from 20 yards, Genk grabbed another on the stroke of half-time. John managed to get in behind the FC backline and lifted the ball over Urbig from a tight angle.
Much like the first period, FC started the brighter of the two teams and were first on the scoresheet. Simon Breuer found space out wide and crossed towards the edge of the box. Marvin Obuz’s clever dummy allowed Joshua Schwirten to run onto the ball and curl a special strike into the top corner to revive the FC challenge.
Marvin Obuz’s torment of the Genk defence continued but his effort went narrowly wide of the post soon after the Schwirten strike. However, Genk showed their fighting spirit and managed to get themselves a fourth goal. A well-taken corner saw András Németh rise highest to power home a header as Urbig stretched but couldn’t quite keep his header out.
The final half-hour was back and forth, as both sides tried to add to their tally. Urbig made two excellent saves to deny Diawara and Németh, when it looked certain that Genk would be out of sight. Simon Breuer tested Chambaere, whilst Obuz continued to dance down the touchline. However, despite their best efforts, Stefan Ruthenbeck’s men couldn’t find a third.
The second leg takes place on 19th October at 18:00 CET in Genk. The away goal rule doesn’t come into play in the Youth League, meaning FC need a two-goal win to force the game to penalties or three-goal win progress to the next round.
1. FC Köln (4-3-3): Urbig – Nadjombe (Urso 78’), Smajic, Örnek, Suchanek – Wydra (Diehl 60’), Castrop, Schwirten (Fadeev 78’) – Breuer, Schmid (Wäschenbach 72’), Obuz.
KRC Genk (4-2-3-1): Chambaere – Beerten, Et-Taibi, Monamay, Rommens – Swerts,Geusens – John (van de Perre 90+3’), Németh, Oyen – Diawara (El Khannous 77’).
Goals: 1:0, Schmid 5’. 1:1, Diawara 36’. 1:2, John 43’. 1:3, John 45+2’. 2:3, Schwirten 47’. 2:4, Németh 58’.
Referee: Mario Zebec (CRO).
Booked: Németh (49’), Breuer (52’), Swerts (61’), Oyen (83’).
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