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Genk fight back to hold Chelsea

KRC Genk 1-1 Chelsea FC
The London club remain at the Group E summmit despite being pegged back by the Belgian champions after David Luiz had a penalty saved.

László Köteles celebrates at the end of the 1-1 draw
László Köteles celebrates at the end of the 1-1 draw ©Getty Images

Chelsea FC remain on top of Group E despite being held by a KRC Genk side who were much improved from the one beaten 5-0 at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago.

Already trailing to Ramires's well-taken opener, the Belgian club looked to be staring down the barrel again when Thomas Buffel handled in the area before the break. Yet László Köteles superbly kept out David Luiz's spot kick and instead it was Genk pushing for the win for the final half-hour after Jelle Vossen equalised.

The teams' weekend matches may have produced 17 goals but chances were at a premium in the early stages here. Kevin De Bruyne scored three of Genk's in a 5-4 win at Club Brugge KV yet it was Buffel down the right flank, rather than him on the left, who carried more of a threat to Chelsea.

The visitors were content to play patiently and wait for an opening, which duly arrived in the 26th minute. Ramires initiated the attack by passing to Torres and then charging onto the striker's clipped pass over the Genk defence before sliding the ball under the diving frame of Köteles.

Florent Malouda then failed to take advantage of a wonderful reverse pass from Raul Meireles before the Portuguese international drove a fierce shot against the underside of the Genk crossbar. A second goal was on the cards and Luiz had a perfect opportunity to score it after Buffel handled Malouda's cross.

The Brazil defender made a stuttering run-up and shot to the keeper's right, although Köteles guessed correctly and palmed it to safety. His celebration said it all: Genk were still in it.

Mario Been's side started the second period with a huge injection of confidence. De Bruyne forced Petr Čech into action in the 50th minute and Kennedy Nwanganga also went close before Vossen had the home fans celebrating. The No9 beat Ashley Cole to De Bruyne's cross before forcing it over the line from close range.

On came Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge, and the two almost conjured a second – Lampard just failing to get a touch to a cross flashed across goal by the striker. De Bruyne and substitute Elyaniv Barda did their best to respond for Genk, yet neither side could find the winner and the spoils were deservedly shared.

The Blues remain top, two points clear of their next opponents Bayer 04 Leverkusen – beaten 3-1 at Valencia CF tonight. Genk, on two points, travel to Spain in three weeks' time.

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