Champions League - Shoddy Chelsea held by spirited Genk

Tue, 01 Nov 21:40:00 2011

Chelsea paid the price for a slipshod second-half performance as they were held to a 1-1 draw by a game Racing Genk side in their Champions League meeting at the Cristal Arena.

Chelsea - 0

The Premier League outfit struck the opener on 25 minutes when Ramires bundled the ball home after being played in by Fernando Torres as Chelsea seemed set to get back on the winning trail after defeats to QPR and Arsenal in domestic climes.

David Luiz saw a penalty saved by Laszlo Koteles on 40 minutes, and the visitors paid the price for that miss as Genk recovered to earn a deserved point in a frantic second half.

Jelle Vossen struck the home side's equaliser on 61 minutes after a sustained period of Genk pressure when he netted from 10 yards out after a lovely cutback by Fabien Camus.

Chelsea are top of Group E on eight points, but they will have to wait until they visit Bayer Leverkusen on November 23 before they can claim a place in the last 16.

Leverkusen remain in second spot in the section on six points despite a 3-1 loss to Valencia, who are a point behind on five from their four outings.

Genk have little chance of progressing on two points, but the draw will feel like a win to the Belgian champions after they were thumped 5-0 at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago.

Chelsea - with skipper John Terry and Frank Lampard left on the bench - should have been more than one goal ahead at the break after dominating courtesy of superior technical ability against the willing triers of Genk.

They went ahead with their best move of the first period as Torres fed Ramires on the run and he bounded into the area to slip the ball through the legs of Koteles on 24 minutes.

Ashley Cole threw over a delightful deep cross for Ramires moments later, but the Brazilian midfielder headed wide of the target from five yards out.

Suddenly the chances were coming thick and fast as Florent Malouda was left in space in the area. His cross hit off the foot of Anthony Vanden Borre but the ball fell an inch wide of the target.

Raul Meireles was denied a spectacular goal when his shot from 30 yards came back of the bar to safety with Koteles left stranded on his line on 37 minutes.

Chelsea were awarded a penalty five minutes before half-time when Thomas Buffel inexplicably handled Malouda's cross.

Luiz backed himself from the spot in the absence of Lampard, but his penalty lacked conviction as Koteles dived to his right to make a comfortable stop.

Chelsea were pinned back at the outset of the second period as Genk emerged looking a lot more sprightly.

Daniel Tozser forced Petr Cech to make a solid save on 51 minutes before the visiting goalkeeper spread himself to save from Kennedy Nwanganga a minute later.

Meireles headed straight at Koteles from Malouda's cross on 74 minutes after Vossen's equaliser before Lampard - on for Ramires - somehow missed from four yards out after a piercing run and pass from fellow substitute Daniel Sturridge.

Sturridge displayed his sharpness to force Koteles to claw out a thumping longer ranger. Cech saved an effort from Genk substitute Anthony Limbombe before Malouda almost won it for Chelsea in the final minute when he lifted the ball over Koteles. The ball was frantically hacked off the line by Anele Ngongca, who saw it drop wide of the target via Nadson.

In truth, it would have been rough justice on Genk if they had failed to take anything from the evening.


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