Onuachu scores in Genk’s defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk

The Nigeria international’s effort could not prevent the Smurfs from losing to the Ukrainian topflight side on Tuesday night

Paul Onuachu was on song for Genk as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in Tuesday’s Champions League fixture.

In the first leg of the third qualifying round played at the Luminus Arena, the Nigerian put the Smurfs ahead, albeit, the Ukrainians bounced back to secure victory.

Genk came into the fixture on the back of a 4-3 defeat to KV Oostende in a league game on Friday.

For the visitors, they travelled to Belgium having silenced Lviv 3-0 their last time out.

From the blast of referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos’s whistle, Shakhtar dominated ball possession, although they did not create any clear-cut scoring opportunities.

Midway through the first half, they went close to scoring, nevertheless, goalkeeper Maarten Vandevoordt was well positioned to deny Manor Solomon and Lassina Traore on separate occasions.

Six minutes before the half-time break, the Belgians took the lead through Onuachu who headed Junya Ito’s cross past goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin.

Significantly, that effort was the African’s first goal in the 2021-22 campaign.

They almost doubled their advantage two minutes later but that was not meant to be. Theo Bongonda launched a counter-attacking move before passing the ball to Mike Tresor who in turn teed up Daniel Munoz.

Unfortunately, that chance was lost as Munoz could not find any teammate to put the ball beyond Trublin.

Knowing that anything short of victory could prove costly in their mission to reach the next round, Roberto De Zerbi’s men went into the second half with all guns blazing.

Their persistence paid off in the 62nd minute as referee Sidiropoulos pointed to the spot after Pedrinho was brought down in the box by Munoz.

Tete stepped up to take the resulting kick which he smartly dispatched past goalkeeper Vandevoordt.

Nine minutes from full time, Alan Patrick settled the tight encounter with a cool finish thanks to an assist from compatriot Ismaily.

Although Genk fought back bravely, they were unable to get the much-needed equaliser.

Onuachu was named in the starting XI but came off for Cyriel Dessers in the 82nd minute, while Spain youth international of Nigerian origin Mujaid Sadick, as well as DR Congo prospect Bogonda, were in action from start to finish.

Another defeat or draw for the Smurfs in the second leg billed for August 10 will see them crash out of the competition. 

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