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Genk 1-4 Salzburg: Marsch's men keep last-16 hopes alive

By Guy Atkinson
Takumi Minamino celebrates after scoring Salzburgs second goal

Genk, November 28: Salzburg cruised past Genk 4-1 on Wednesday (November 27) to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Results | Points Table | Fixtures

Jesse Marsch's side did not hit the heights of the 6-2 thumping of their Belgian opponents in September but they scarcely needed to get out of second gear against Hannes Wolf's limited outfit.

Patson Daka – who had earlier missed a glaring opportunity – put the Austrian side ahead after 43 minutes before Takumi Minamino doubled their advantage just 98 seconds later.

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The impressive Hwang Hee-chan added a third in the second half before Mbwana Samatta headed in a consolation five minutes from time.

Erling Haaland added a final flourish for Salzburg, though, to ensure they go into their clash with Liverpool on December 10 knowing they will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Jurgen Klopp's side.

Daka was guilty of a glaring miss 10 minutes before the interval, blazing over from eight yards after being teed up by Hwang's clever backheel.

He made up for that two minutes before the interval, though, by bundling home after Gaetan Coucke had failed to hold onto Dominik Szoboszlai's half-volley from long range.

The hosts' misery was compounded just two minutes later when Minamino lashed home from 15 yards after being picked out inside the penalty area by Enock Mwepu.

Genk came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit shortly after the hour mark but Sebastien Dewaest's header from a corner crashed back off Carlos' right-hand post.

Any hopes of a grandstand finale were extinguished in the 69th minute when Hwang slotted home from substitute Haaland's low cross.

Haaland bizarrely had a goal ruled out for a perceived foul before Samatta nodded in from close range after Carlos had failed to hold a tame shot from distance.

Teenage Norwegian Haaland did get on the scoresheet to keep up his record of scoring in every Champions League game this season three minutes from time, with Salzburg's attention now turning to that clash with the Premier League leaders in two weeks.

What does it mean? Salzburg take it to the final matchday

It is testament to the job that Marsch has done at Salzburg that his side will take on Liverpool in two weeks knowing a win will see them progress to the last 16.

If that happens and Napoli beat Genk – which would be expected after this woeful display from the Belgian side – then the reigning champions would be knocked out.

Haaland belatedly makes his mark

Haaland was a surprise absence from the starting XI and he certainly made up for lost time after his introduction. He created a goal, had one disallowed and then struck late on to become just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances, joining Alessandro Del Piero and Diego Costa in that illustrious group.

Coucke gift wraps opener for Salzburg

Genk's capitulation before the interval was kick-started by some woeful goalkeeping from Coucke. Szoboszlai's shot should have been gathered with the minimum of fuss but the Genk goalkeeper fumbled it right into the path of Daka, who could scarcely believe his luck.

What's next?

Genk are in domestic action on Saturday (November 30) against Sint-Truiden before concluding their Champions League campaign against Napoli on December 10. Salzburg, meanwhile, face Admira in the Bundesliga on Sunday (December 1) before that crunch clash with Liverpool in a fortnight.

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Story first published: Thursday, November 28, 2019, 3:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 28, 2019
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