Cork City's Europa League tilt ended by efficient Genk
Cork City 1 Genk 2 (Genk win 3-1 on aggregate)
Published 04/08/2016 | 22:30
Cork City missed out on the chance of a place in the Europa League play-offs when they went down 2-1 against Racing Club Genk in the second leg of their third qualifying-round tie at Turner's Cross, losing 3-1 on aggregate.
John Caulfield's men were looking to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Belgium, but fell behind to a goal from former Rangers midfielder Thomas Buffel, with Sebastien Dewaest's header just before half-time putting the visitors firmly in command.
Veteran former Republic of Ireland defender Alan Bennett pulled a goal back on 63 minutes. Genk, though, saw out the closing stages, and also missed a penalty in stoppage time, as the they took their place in Friday's draw.
After a bright start from City, who are second in League of Ireland behind Dundalk, it was the visitors who took the lead on 13 minutes.
Jamaica forward Leon Bailey, who scored in the first leg, got away down the left and sent over a low cross which was converted by Genk skipper Buffel as he arrived on the penalty spot.
After Bailey missed when clean through on goal, Cork forward Steven Beattie put his header too close to Genk keeper Marco Bizot, before Kenny Browne sent the ball over following a corner.
The Belgians doubled their lead on 41 minutes when Dewaest scored with a looping header after a corner from the left by former Swansea midfelder Alejandro Pozuelo.
City had defeated Linfield and Swedish club BK Hacken to reach the third qualifying round and had a chance to get back into the tie early in the second-half when substitute Mark O'Sullivan dragged a shot just wide.
Bennett, the former Brentford centre-back, finally gave the Turner's Cross faithful something to cheer just after the hour when he headed in a free-kick from Kevin O'Connor.
Genk could have further extended their advantage as City keeper Mark McNulty saved from substitute Leandro Trossard.
O'Sullivan had a late effort tipped over, before, in the second minute of stoppage time, Genk were awarded a penalty after Beattie fouled Neeskens Kebano - but the Congo forward crashed his spot-kick against the crossbar.