Genk vs Fiorentina 2-2: Ranieri’s Heroics Outshined by McKenzie

Fiorentina squandered two separate leads in a goal-glutted 2-2 draw against Genk in their opening 2023/24 Europa Conference League game. An enthralling encounter at the Cegeka Arena didn’t end well for Vincenzo Italiano’s side, considering the amount of chances they missed throughout the night.

Only seven minutes into the match, Maarten Vandevoordt fumbled Luca Ranieri’s header from Cristiano Biraghi’s corner over the line to give Fiorentina an early lead. However, Genk replied moments later through Andi Zeqiri. The ex-Brighton striker was in the right place at the right time to turn home Mark McKenzie’s header and restore parity in the 12th minute.

Italiano’s team found a way to thrive in a furious first 25 minutes as Ranieir stole the spotlight again. Genk players failed to learn their lesson after leaving Ranieri unmarked for the opening goal. The Fiorentina youngster was free on the far post to head home Nikola Milenkovic’s flick and give his side a new lead in the 23rd minute.

Despite Genk’s effort to draw level, they couldn’t find the net in the remainder of the first half. The hosts went all-out attack after the break, leaving plenty of space behind for Fiorentina to exploit, but the Italians’ profligacy let them down.

Mbala N’Zola wasted a glorious opportunity to seal the visitors’ win but could steer his free header from barely a yard out on goal. It didn’t take long before Genk punished his miss. McKenzie turned from a provider into a goalscorer, connecting his thumping header with Bilal El Khannouss’ corner-kick delivery to snatch a point for the Belgians.

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