The official website for European football

Genk's moment of truth

Published: Wednesday 25 September 2002, 8.00CET
Some notable absentees for Real Madrid CF may not make KRC Genk's task easier.

Tournament statistics

Real MadridGenk

Goals scored33
Attempts on target128
Attempts off target110
Fouls committed204
Yellow cards17
Red cards0

Media Services

Published: Wednesday 25 September 2002, 8.00CET

Genk's moment of truth

Some notable absentees for Real Madrid CF may not make KRC Genk's task easier.

By Rafa García

Real Madrid CF may be without some key players for tonight's UEFA Champions League game against KRC Genk, but the Belgian side are well aware they have a huge task to keep the European champions at bay at the Santiago Bernabéu.

’Three goalkeepers’
"If we want to survive at the Bernabéu, we will have to play with three goalkeepers," joked Genk's Belgian international striker Wesley Sonck, but, after a 0-0 draw at home against AEK Athens FC on Matchday One, his side will need to be on their mettle going forward too.

Ronaldo absent
The absence of Ronaldo because of a muscle strain in his left leg will come as some comfort to Sef Vergoosen's side. However, Madrid coach Vicente del Bosque was keen to deflect attention away from the Brazilian striker's condition as he prepared for the Group C game after last week's 3-0 win at AS Roma.

'We must keep calm'
"I'm worried about this match, not Ronaldo's injury," he said. "Doctors have said that Ronaldo should not play. We must keep calm. We have bought Ronaldo for five years, not for a day." However, for Madrid, the fitness of France's Zinedine Zidane is more of an immediate concern.

Makelele struggling
Zidane is suffering from arthritis in his right knee and his international team-mate and fellow midfield player Claude Makelele is also suffering from a small ligament sprain in his left knee. Both are doubtful, although in their absence a midfield consisting of Luis Figo, Flavio Conceiçao, Esteban Cambiasso and Santiago Solari could only be considered a weakened lineup in Madrid.

Casillas returns
Goalkeeper Iker Casillas looks likely to be playing from the start as last week's first-choice stopper, César Sánchez, has a problem with an injured finger on his right hand, but if last week's Madrid striking partnership of Raúl González and Guti are in the same imperious form as they were in Rome, Casillas may be in for a quiet night.

'I have slept well'
Quiet nights were certainly the order of the day in Belgium, and Genk coach Vergoosen is going into tonight's game with a surprising degree of confidence. "I have slept well the last few nights," he said. "My team is very calm. Our job will be complicated. We have nothing to lose and will play as we know."

Wamfor in midfield
In the absence of Bernd Thijs, Cameroonian Justice Wamfor looks set to start the game in midfield, while Moroccan left-sided midfield player Akran Rumani may be preferred to Marco Ingrao, who played against AEK last week.

A difficult task
Genk will be greeted by 2,000 of their own supporters in Madrid as they aim to achieve the seemingly impossible task of beating the European champions on home territory. Vergoosen has described the tie as: "the most important match in Genk's history". It will certainly be one of the most difficult.

Last updated: 25/09/02 20.52CET