LFC U19s beat Genk on penalties in Youth League last 16

Match reportLFC U19s beat Genk on penalties in Youth League last 16

Published 2nd March 2022
By Sam Williams

Liverpool U19s beat KRC Genk 4-3 on penalties to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Youth League.

Wednesday’s last-16 tie at the Academy finished 1-1 - Oakley Cannonier’s opener being cancelled out by Jay-Dee Geusens - with the game then going straight to a shootout.

And it was the young Reds who came out on top, thanks in no small part to two saves by Harvey Davies, who thwarted Tuur Rommens and Geusens before Bobby Clark netted the decisive spot-kick.

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s team will now visit Juventus in the last eight after the Italian club defeated AZ Alkmaar in a penalty shootout of their own earlier on Wednesday.

A cagey opening to the match was shaded by Liverpool - who were without Youth League regulars such as Conor Bradley, Tyler Morton and Kaide Gordon - with a rapid breakaway from the hosts ending with Cannonier’s shot being blocked.

The striker was again denied at the last when he struck for goal after being involved in some inventive interplay with Mateusz Musialowski and Max Woltman.

Genk, though, retained a threat of their own, particularly through Deniz Arabaci, who darted in-field from the right wing and forced Davies into a smart save at his near post. 

Visiting goalkeeper Tobe Leysen then spread himself to block Cannonier’s clipped attempt once Melkamu Frauendorf had pressed high to regain possession, but the No.9 finally got on the scoresheet a couple of minutes before the interval.

Woltman sent Frauendorf’s cross from the left into the ground with a scuffed volley and Cannonier’s gamble to follow in paid off as he stooped to nod home from close range.

However, within five minutes of the restart, Genk were level.

Musialowski was dispossessed following a throw-in deep in Liverpool’s half and the Belgian side worked the ball to Geusens, who smashed a rising drive into the top corner. 

After Leysen had thwarted Woltman, Genk went so close to edging ahead when Adnane Abid sent a low curler off the inside of the post. 

It was the visitors who looked most likely to snatch a winner and Liverpool captain Jarell Quansah had to make a fine last-ditch tackle to divert Mika Godts' attempt over the crossbar with 15 minutes left.

Abid was then guilty of spurning Genk’s clearest chance as he mishit his shot with only James Norris to beat on the goalline after Davies had palmed a cross straight to his feet. 

And that was to prove costly for Genk, as Davies’ heroics and four successful conversions out of five kicks ensured the U19s replicated their senior counterparts' shootout win at Wembley three days ago.

Liverpool U19s: Davies, Mabaya, Quansah, Koumetio, Norris, Corness, Balagizi, Frauendorf, Musialowski (Clark, 68), Woltman, Cannonier (O’Rourke, 67).

Unused subs: Mrozek, Jonas, Miles, Scanlon, Pilling.

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Published 2nd March 2022