Liverpool fans miss Champions League win over Genk after travelling to Ghent

By Thomas MallowsBBC Sport
Liverpool fans in Ghent holding up their tickets for the match against Genk
By the time they had realised their mistake it was too late to make it to Genk

Two Liverpool fans missed their side's Champions League win over Belgian side Genk on Wednesday - because they travelled to Ghent by mistake.

Rob, from London, and Lee, from Leicester, spent around £200 each on train and match tickets only to mistakenly end up 95 miles from where the match was being played.

"When we arrived we didn't see any Liverpool supporters, which kind of aroused our suspicions," Rob told BBC Sport.

"Then we were sitting having dinner about an hour before kick-off and we said to one of the waiters, who was a Gent supporter, 'we are playing you guys tonight' and he went 'no you're not', and that was when we realised the error of our ways.

"We'd had a few beers so driving wasn't possible. Even if we jumped in a cab it was 150 kilometres away so that sealed our fate I'm afraid."

Google Maps showing the distance between Genk and Ghent
To confuse matters further, the city of Ghent is spelt differently to its football team Gent

They can at least take some consolation with the result, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring twice in a 4-1 win.

"We watched it in an Irish bar with a bunch of lovely people and really enjoyed watching it on the TV," added Rob.

After hearing of their plight, local side KAA Gent - spelt without the H - invited the pair to their Europa League tie with Wolfsburg on Thursday night.

Unfortunately they were unable to make the game as they had to head back to England on Thursday morning, but they have accepted an offer to be VIP guests at a Gent match in January - against Genk.

"I doubt we will get the keys to the city but we may return there as celebrities," added Rob.

So after going all that way and paying all that money just to watch that game on TV, has it put them off watching Liverpool in Europe again?

"Certainly not," said Rob. "But we will get somebody else to do the travel plans next time."

Tweet from KAA Gent inviting Liverpool fans to their game with Wolfsburg
Gent took pity on the Liverpool fans by offering them tickets for their game against Wolfsburg

It may ease their embarrassment to know that they are not the first people to have been on the wrong end of a location-based sporting misshap.

In 2015, a group of Belgium supporters were driving to watch their country's Euro 2016 qualifying match against Wales in Cardiff, but after typing "Wales" into their sat-nav they ended up in a village close to Rotherham called Wales - 200 miles away from the Welsh capital.

Earlier this month, former world snooker champion Neil Robertson had to forfeit his World Open qualifier because he drove to the Gloucestershire village of Barnsley, 170 miles away from the Yorkshire town where his match had been due to take place.

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