Real Madrid CF 6-0 KRC Genk
All the talk prior to this game had been of who was not playing for Real Madrid CF against KRC Genk in their Group C encounter at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Ronaldo was ruled out with an ankle injury, and French duo Zinedine Zidane and Claude Makelele were also absent. However, they were not missed at all as Madrid delivered an attacking masterclass and crushed a hapless Genk side in impressive fashion.
Madrid were far from convincing during the first half. The absence of Zidane and Makelele in the centre of midfield meant that the hosts tried to work the ball through their wide players, Luis Figo and Santiago Solari.
This ploy met with some success, but Genk were resolute at the back. Twice Solari burst clear on the left wing, but Didier Zokora and Igor Tomasic made crucial interceptions. Albert Celades tried his luck from range after a well-worked corner but his shot was well wide.
For Genk, Beli Moumouni Dagano was lively and with Wesley Sonck working hard, opportunities were created. Sonck twice shot over the crossbar from distance, but once Madrid opened their account, there was no way back for Sef Vergoosen's side.
Dose of luck
With the clock showing 44 minutes, Madrid opened the scoring through a large dose of luck. The hosts had built up some sustained pressure and the ball fell to Guti. Goalkeeper Jan Moons seemed to have his shot covered, but it deflected off Zokora and into the net.
Within a minute Madrid stormed forward again, and Celades picked out Michel Salgado in the area. The full-back spun and slid the ball into the bottom corner of the net for his side's second of the night.
Goal after goal
The second half saw Madrid pour forward in waves, creating chance after chance. Iván Helguera surged forward from the back, and was brought down in the area by Kevin Vanbeuren for what was a clear penalty after 55 minutes. Figo stepped up and made no mistake from the spot.
Madrid were now in top gear. Zokora gave away possession too easily on the edge of the box and Guti scampered forward to curl the ball into the net after 64 minutes.
With 74 minutes gone, substitute Fernando Morientes worked the ball in from the right flank to Raúl González, who unselfishly set up Celades to blast the ball past Moons. The hosts were not sated and grabbed a sixth two minutes later. Morientes nodded a long ball down to Raúl González, who lashed a 25-metre shot past Moons.
More to come
Full time could not come quickly enough for Genk, but Madrid were enjoying their football. On this form - and with Ronaldo and Zidane to come in - it will take something special to prevent them retaining their trophy.