KRC Genk – Match Report vs OH Leuven 15/08/2020

KRC Genk disappointed a lot in their second game of the season in the Jupiler Pro League. In charge of the young German manager Hannes Wolf KRC Genk drew against OH Leuven, which returned in the topflight of Belgian football after four seasons on the second level.

Genk set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against the OH Leuven which played a very defensive 3-5-1-1. The hosts tried to play it out of the back and got a lot of space in the midfield from Leuven, but didn’t really manage to create anything with it. After 55 minutes Genk opened the score with a fantastic long shot by Junya Ito. Leuven played a decent second half though and got a deserved equalizer in the 85th minute. In the end KRC Genk could count themselves quite lucky after not conceding a penalty in the last minutes after a debatable tackle in the box.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Jhon Lucumí

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 26/06/1998
  • Current Club: KRC Genk
  • Career: Deportivo Cali, KRC Genk
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Jhon Lucumí played as the left centre back in Genk’s back four next to Carlos Cuesta. The Colombian stands at 6’1” and is physically very strong. Besides being very strong Lucumí is also pretty rapid. He has great top speed and has decent acceleration to keep up with his opponents on the first few meters.

OH Leuven clearly saw Lucumí as a threat in build-up, as they constantly had a man close to him, whilst Carlos Cuesta got all the space in the world. Lucumí looked very comfortable with the ball at his feet and showed he is a great passer. He played some great diagonal long passes to open up the play and played numerous of great forward passes. As I said Lucumí didn’t get much space, but when he saw the chance he still tried to dribble into the midfield. One of these runs resulted in a pretty big chance to score for him. His stance looked a bit awkward when he tried to shoot and the ball went wide.

Defensively Lucumí did well defensively. He was very strong in his 1v1’s defending quite patiently and only putting in a tackle at the right moments. His was communicating well with his teammates and worked very hard throughout the whole match. The 22 year old Colombian didn’t get tested in the air too much, but easily won both of his two aerial duels. He also read the game very well, cutting off passing lanes and intercepting eight passes this game.

Rating – A2

Lucumí looked like a great all-round centre back for Genk and could be a great pick-up for some teams in the top 5 leagues.

Carlos Cuesta

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Colombian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of Birth: 09/03/1999
  • Current Club: KRC Genk
  • Career: Atlético Nacional, KRC Genk
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

In the game against OH Leuven Carlos Cuesta made twenty-nine (!) progressive runs. The away-side clearly saw Lucumí as the more dangerous defender and probably weren’t wrong.

Cuesta got a lot of space to move by OH Leuven

Whilst Cuesta did very well on the ball, he couldn’t force anything for his team in the final third. Cuesta played over a hundred passes this game and ended the game with a passing accuracy of 92%. Of course this is a bit inflated, since he made quite some simple passes, but his forward passing was also quite good. Unlike Lucumí however Cuesta didn’t play any long passes against OHL, which he normally does more often.

Cuesta looked very comfortable carrying the ball forward and dribbling with it, but again didn’t really do anything special with it either. The fact that Genk’s attackers were very static at times didn’t help either. Cuesta tried shooting from distance once, but didn’t really get a lot of power behind the ball.

Defensively Cuesta showed some real qualities, but there is also room for improvement. The 21-year old defender reacted very slowly a couple of times in transition. In the 14th minute this caused a big chance for OHL. Physically he isn’t as strong as Lucumí, but he compensates with a lot of aggression in his duel without making fouls often. He also made a couple of crucial tackles. Cuesta is also pretty strong in the air with his great jumping reach.

Cuesta also played his part in the late equalizer from OH Leuven. In the pictures you see below it’s quite clear Cuesta was never going to win this aerial duel against Mercier, who already was in the air, however Cuesta still decides tries to beat him. This was followed by a goal from striker Henry. Obviously this goal wasn’t entirely Cuesta’s fault, but he could’ve done better.

Rating – A2

I think Cuesta has the potential to make a step to a higher level, but he seems to have some concentration issues.

Joakim Maehle

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of Birth: 20/05/1997
  • Current Club: KRC Genk
  • Career: Aalborg BK, KRC Genk
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Joakim Maehle was the right back for KRC Genk against Leuven and just kept on running. In build-up Maehle mostly stood quite high up the pitch, but at times he would slot in as the third centre back on the right when Wouters and Cuesta would push up.

Maehle would provide width for his team on the right, but also made some underlapping runs or dribbled the ball more centrally on the pitch, depending on what right winger Ito was doing. Maehle looked comfortable carrying the ball forward and was quite dangerous with his runs in the final third, but showed some poor crosses. His low crosses were pretty good, but sometimes he didn’t have good awareness of where his teammates were by not looking around enough.

Defensively Maehle did very well, he intercepted a lot of passes and did alright his duels even though he isn’t the strongest defender. Maehle showed great stamina and good pace always tracking back quickly when OH Leuven tried to counter-attack. In the last few minutes of the game Maehle got very lucky though. After a quick counter-attack from Leuven Maehle was a bit too late and he made a foul in his own box. Luckily for him the referee and the VAR didn’t think it was a penalty.

Rating – B1

Maehle is a very dynamic right back, but lacked some offensive qualities in this game.

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