Racing Genk held an attacking Valencia to a 0-0 draw in their
opening Group E game in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
Despite playing away from home, Valencia kept looking for
victory in the knowledge the Belgian champion was the rank outsider
in a group currently led by Chelsea after its 2-0 victory over
Bayer Leverkusen at Stamford Bridge.
Valencia came closest in the 72nd minute when Pablo Hernandez
crossed to Rami and the defender saw his overhead volley hit the
bar. Valencia brought goalkeeper Diego Alves back into the lineup
and was grateful to him in the 84th minute when his spectacular
save denied Jeroen Simaeys.
Yet despite its offensive threat, led by Dani Parejo, Valencia
only had one point to show for its efforts.
The Spanish side looked promising early on with Rami heading
over before Roberto Soldado, who has struck four times in La Liga
already this season, also missed the target with a header.
Summer signing Pablo Piatti then tried his luck with an effort
that was straight at home goalkeeper Laszlo Koteles.
Mehmet Topal, Parejo and Piatti fared no better before Genk
started to fight its way back into the game with Daniel Pudil
volleying wide and Simaeys bringing a save out of Alves.
The second half saw Valencia again start brightly with Piatti
shooting over before Soldado saw a cross-shot parried by Koteles in
the 55th minute.
The match was clearly heading towards a goalless stalemate,
though Valencia came agonizingly close to breaking the deadlock
with Rami’s spectacular effort.
The Spanish side will have home advantage in its next Group E
match on Sept 28., when it hosts Chelsea, while Genk travels to