Although it certainly felt miserable stepping off a coach in Luzern a rainy morning after eleven hours journey home from possibly our best chance ever to qualify for the Europa League we should be thankful.
We should be thankful we do not live in Genk, a town so ugly that the crows fly upside down when they have the misfortune to pass it. It has no redeeming feature, we thought maybe it was totally destroyed during the wars, but no, it was built this way. There is absolutely nothing to do or see in Genk, there was a rumor that one bar once had a pool table, but it was impossible for us to verify this claim. Today the most popular building with visitors to Genk is the railway station – a frequent request at the counter is ‘just give me a f**king ticket, I do not care where to’. Genk is not even a town; it is a mere collection of ugly houses that just happen to stand next to each others. In fairness we do think that the people we met in bars of Genk were rather nice.
We should also be thankful we do not have to endure a stadium ‘dj’ as the one Genk has employed. Imagine the music Papa Smurf would have chosen arranging a disco party on an acid trip. Blasted out at full volume before and after the game, so loud it’s impossible to even talk. We can only imagine it was to make it less obvious that the absolutely amazing travelling FC Luzern support totally out sang the unfortunate inhabitants of the ugliest town in Western Europe.
Now, there was also a game. We knew that the Genk side, formerly known as KFC Winter slut (!) was only average – not even close to our last European opponents FC Utrect. Though always threatening on the counter attack we were in control of the first leg we deservedly won 2-1. A draw was all we needed.
Early part of the game was rather similar to the first leg, we had a reasonable amount of possession and Genk felt beatable but we still had to be mindful about their attackers. It was all going reasonable well until Rangelov sees the red mist and kicks an opponent after a duel. We get the usual theatrical fall and the referee runs over to his linesman. Straight red. Cheers Dimitar, a totally pointless sending off which will make it extremely hard to qualify.
Game changes totally and we are now trying to park the Chelsea team bus in front of our goal. We rarely manage to string more than a few passes together in a very crowded central midfield. Our tactic is reduced to hoofing up long balls and hoping for the best. The only way we will score is on a set piece or a terrible individual mistake from our opponents. We manage to hold out until half time. The mood in the away end rises again.
More of the same in the second half. We look the lesser team now and before long Genk scores. Oh crap, thanks again Rangelow. Still, its not impossible, we just need a goal. Let’s keep hoofing up the ball and hope for the best. The winterslag is now in control. She scores again after a good individual effort where Hyka is left standing behind.
Strangely, the away support gets even louder. We can still make it with a bit of luck, and we nearly, nearly do. With 94 minutes on the clock the KFC keeper makes an incredible save to deny a goal from Janko Pacar. We are defeated on the pitch but just as against Utrecht we win 3-0 on the terraces. The deafening Smurf Disco party ensues and we do our best applaud the team off the pitch.
Finally – we would like to thank the local police force – both for their calm attitude to policing the town centre and also for bringing up the helicopter to welcome us. A great honor.