|I||Sparta Praha||19:00||H. Kiryat Shmona|
KRC Genk remain top of UEFA Europa League Group G after securing a late 2-1 win against Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Sporting, who appointed former Genk trainer Frank Vercauteren as their new coach this week, took an early lead when Brian Hamalainen deflected in Stijn Schaars' shot. The hosts soon drew level through Benjamin De Ceulaer, though, and, buoyed by the second-half dismissal of Khalid Boulahrouz, they eventually completed the turnaround thanks to substitute Elyaniv Barda.
Genk also began proceedings with a swagger befitting a team unbeaten in eight European home games, Jelle Vossen hitting into the ground when presented with a fine chance inside two minutes. Despite that bright start, the Belgian side's bubble was burst when Schaars' scuffed volley direct from a corner ricocheted in off Hamalainen.
It could have been 2-0 inside the quarter-hour had Boulahrouz managed to climb high enough to head under, rather than over, the crossbar. De Ceulaer made no such mistake at the other end, however, applying the simplest of back-post finishes to Nadson's neat flick-on from a corner.
Brittle of confidence – not to mention 12th in the Portuguese top flight and bottom of this section – Sporting showed admirable resolve to emerge from the interval the more threatening side. In fact, they displayed a precision in their passing frequently lacking this season, only to be let down by their final touch in front of goal. Jeffren Suárez was the principal culprit, swivelling adroitly but shooting directly at Kristof Van Hout; Diego Capel then did likewise, before Schaars missed the target altogether when free 12 metres out.
Boulahrouz brought an end to that building momentum when he was shown a second yellow card 14 minutes from time. Genk did not need a second invitation, and although Barda was initially denied by Rui Patrício, he had the final say with a clever header from the resulting corner.
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