KRC Genk 0-0 AEK Athens FC
After an enthralling opening Group C game, KRC Genk and AEK Athens were left to rue a host of scorned opportunities as they started their UEFA Champions League campaign with a goalless draw.
Full of confidence
Hosts Genk came into the game full confidence, having scored nine times in their two games at the Fenixstadion, but they never looked likely to add many to their tally tonight. Forwards Wesley Sonck and Beli Moumouni Dagano strove purposefully all night but they found the AEK defence in equally determined mood.
AEK weathered an early storm from their hosts and, by the end of the first half, looked the more likely side to break the deadlock. Themistoklis Nikolaidis went into the half-time break having passed up two extremely presentable chances.
First, after 36 minutes, he rounded Genk goalkeeper Jan Moons but delayed his shot too long, allowing Igor Tomasic to sneak in and clear the danger for the Belgian champions. On the stroke of half-time, Konstantinos Katsouranis gave Nikolaidis a second chance to beat Moons, but the striker could only manage a weak header.
High and dry
New AEK coach Dusko Bajevic certainly sent his side out after the interval with the belief that they could win the game, but the busy Nikolaidis too often found himself high and dry without the support of his side's midfield.
Although they spent much of the half on the back foot, Genk had their share of chances to win the game. Genk captain, and Australian international Josip Skoko showed his dribbling skills on the edge of the AEK penalty area after 63 minutes but his cross was high and hopeful and goalkeeper Dionisios Chiotis gathered with ease.
Bešlija breaks through
Igor Tomasic, in a rare raid from his right-back position, blazed a volley high and wide of the AEK goal midway through the second half, and with just six minutes to go, Dagano played a teasing through ball for midfield player Mirsad Bešlija but his final shot did not trouble Chiotis.
Moons to the rescue
Having spurned that opportunity, Genk were almost made to pay in the final minute of the game when Nikolaidis played a clever through-ball for substitute Vassilios Lakis, but the midfield player delayed too long over his shot allowing Moons to rescue the situation for the Belgian side.