Ex-Crystal Palace & Everton man features as trialist as Burnley are edged out by Genk

Andros Townsend featured for Burnley as a trialist as Vincent Kompany’s men were edged out 2-0 by Genk.
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The former Crystal Palace winger has been training with the Clarets in recent weeks in a bid to prove his fitness after leaving Everton at the end of last season.

The 32-year-old missed the entirety of last season through injury after rupturing his ACL playing for the Toffees in March 2022, but he’s now fit and on the lookout for a new club.

Townsend has been training with the Clarets in recent weeks in a bid to prove his fitness following his recent departure from EvertonTownsend has been training with the Clarets in recent weeks in a bid to prove his fitness following his recent departure from Everton
Townsend has been training with the Clarets in recent weeks in a bid to prove his fitness following his recent departure from Everton
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Townsend started the game as a substitute but got a good half an hour or so under his belt after replacing Vitinho on the right wing.

The Clarets performed well in the main against the side that finished second in the Belgian Pro League last season, but lacked a bit of sharpness to make their chances count in the final third.

Vincent Kompany’s men were the better side in the opening half, creating some good openings too, but found themselves going a goal down after just eight minutes when Yira Sor was gifted an easy goal.

A second was added in the dying stages of the game when substitute Arokodare Tolu directed a header into the far corner.

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The Clarets, who now head to Lisbon for a training camp before taking on Benfica on Tuesday, were a bit more ragged during the second-half and failed to show the same sharpness and tempo on the ball.

The result means Burnley succumbed to their first defeat of pre-season, having previously won all four of their behind-closed-doors outings.

Kompany threw new signing James Trafford straight in from the start for his Burnley debut, only two days on from his move from Manchester City being confirmed.

Trafford was the only one of Burnley’s new summer signings to feature from the start, although Dara O’Shea and Zeki Amdouni were named among the subs.

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Kompany named a strong XI with what many would consider to be Burnley’s first-choice back four in Connor Roberts, Ameen Al-Dakhil, Jordan Beyer and Charlie Taylor.

Josh Cullen, Josh Brownhill and Scott Twine made up a midfield three, flanked by Vitinho and Anass Zaroury, while Lyle Foster led the line.

Andros Townsend, who is reported to be training with the Clarets to build up his fitness, was also named on the bench.

Manuel Benson, believed to be injured, wasn’t involved, while Bailey Peacock-Farrell was also absent. Arijanet Muric and Lawrence Vigouroux were both involved in the warm-up but weren’t named on the teamsheet, with Kompany opting to give the full 90 minutes to Trafford.

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There was a decent tempo to the game right from the off, with both sides exchanging half chances during the opening exchanges.

Lyle Foster almost played in Vitinho at one end of the pitch, only to overhit his pass in the final third, while a Genk player drilled wide at the other end after an early corner had been partially cleared to the edge of the box.

The Clarets had made a confident start and were beginning to put their passages of play together, only to concede shortly afterwards.

Just eight minutes in, Sor was gifted an easy tap-in from close range after Trafford had been caught under a deep cross. The ball fell directly to the left winger whose shot was blocked near the goalline, only to fall straight for Sor to steer home.

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Kompany’s men responded well though, going close to a leveller three minutes later when Foster wriggled free of a couple of challenges before sending a rising shot just over the bar.

The Clarets went even closer a few moments later when Josh Brownhill’s close range effort was blocked after Anass Zaroury, who had started particularly well, had put the ball on a plate for the midfielder eight yards out.

Despite their early setback, Burnley looked settled and were still passing the ball with confidence. Genk, however, remained a threat on the counter with their pace in behind.

Sor looked to capitalise on a ball over the top when he beat Ameen Al-Dakhil for pace, only to steer his effort from a tight angle into the side netting.

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Burnley remained the more dangerous side though, going twice in quick succession just before the half-hour mark.

First, Brownhill’s dangerous fizzed low ball was cleared over his own bar by defender Mujaid Sadick before Al-Dakhil nodded a header onto the top of the bar and just over after the keeper had made a hash of dealing with the resulting corner.

Burnley had to remain wary though, with Genk coming close to a second when Mike Tresor created a presentable opening for Ouattara Aziz, who could only blaze well over under good pressure from Al-Dakhil.

Bookings are quite rare in pre-season outings but one was flashed in Jordan Beyer’s direction for a cynical foul on the dangerous Tresor. At least that’s what happened eventually, given the referee initially dropped his card only for Aziz to pick it up for him.

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Tresor picked himself out to send a dipping, swerving effort narrowly over the bar with Trafford back-peddaling.

Ironically, Kompany was also shown a yellow card before the half was up for complaining about something from the touchline, which the Genk fans certainly enjoyed.

Quite refreshingly for a friendly, there was only one change made at the break - with Genk swapping their goalkeeper. Burnley, meanwhile, emerged unchanged.

The visitors continued from where they left off, looking dangerous in attack and creating another opening - this time for Twine following some exquisite build-up play in the middle third of the pitch.

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Twine looked to cut inside to create some space for him to shoot but the ball got away from him by a yard or two and Genk were able to clear.

Tresor, Genk’s most eye-catching performer by far, almost picked out the onrushing Rasmus Carstensen with a clever dinked ball in behind Burnley’s backline, but it was overhit by an inch or two and ran through to Trafford as a result.

Townsend emerged off the bench on the hour mark to get a solid half an hour under his belt, replacing Vitinho on the right wing.

Not long after the change, Jordan Beyer was required to make an important interception to deny Genk a second after his centre-back partner Al-Dakhil had been beaten by the touchline.

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As is often the way in these games, the second-half lost its flow after Genk made a number of changes, with one eye on their upcoming Champions League qualifier.

The hosts did briefly threaten to double their lead 20 minutes from time when Luca Oyen sent a rasping drive just over, although Trafford looked on comfortably as it flew over his bar.

With just under 15 minutes remaining, Kompany handed out another debut, this time for Zeki Amdouni who replaced Twine.

While it was Genk who made wholesale changes, it was Burnley who began to look a little ragged in the closing stages as Genk opened them up a little too easily on more than one occasion.

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Connor Roberts was required to make an important block at the back post, putting his body on the line with Paintsil Joseph ready to bounce.

The game petered out from this point until full-time, although there was one particular moment to note when Wout Weghorst made his return for Burnley, replacing Foster to a mixed reaction from the away end.

With two minutes remaining, Genk - as they had threatened to do on numerous occasions - finally put the game to bed when sub Arokodare Tolu directed a header beyond Trafford and into the far corner.

That proved to be the last meaningful action of the game as the Clarets suffered their first defeat of pre-season.

TEAMS

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Genk: Vandevoordt, Sadick, Aziz, Trésor, Sor, Ait El Hadj, Carstensen, Oyen, Galarza, Kongolo, Preciado

Burnley: Trafford, Roberts, Al-Dakhil, Beyer, Taylor, Cullen, Brownhill, Twine (Amdouni), Vitinho (Townsend), Zaroury, Foster (Weghorst)

Subs not used: Muric, Vigouroux, Ekdal, McNally, O’Shea, Cork, Costelloe

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