GENK, LAST season's Belgian champions, made an extraordinary start to their title defence on Saturday as they fought out a 6-6 draw at Westerlo in a game featuring five penalties and four red cards.
The new Genk coach, Jos Heyligen, must have been hoping for a quieter time at unfancied Westerlo. But, in an amazing game of ebbing fortunes, the champions took the lead no fewer than four times, fell 4-2 behind, fought back to 6-5 ahead, only to have victory snatched from them in the dying moments.
Genk's Branko Strupar claimed a hat-trick of penalties while Westerlo's Toni Brogno scored four, including two from the spot. Both sides ended the game with nine men as Genk's Wilfried Delbroek and Chris van Geem, together with Westerlo's Marc Schaessens and Benoit Thans, all received their marching orders from an over-worked referee.
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