Ivory Coast surprises Belgium's 'Unit B'

The public returned to Brussels and the African team scratched a draw at the end. Before Batshuayi scored. Bob Martínez reserved most of the starters.


We like football to a point that is very difficult to explain. Only from there it is understood that tonight, the veto to the public in the stadiums partially lifted, there would be 4,600 brave men enjoying Belgium's draw in the rain in a friendly with more kicks than football and with all the local stars fallen from the poster. They expect two games of the League of Nations and Roberto Martínez, as he had announced, saved the best for then.

Without the injured Hazard, the headdress Courtois or the reserved De Bruyne and Lukaku, there were two debutants in the starting eleven and four first-time starters. The new litter, then, continues to seek its place among the Golden Generation: how they mix will depend on their success at next summer's European Championship. It is not an easy process, nor is it fast.

Courtois did not play, we said, but it was barely noticeable because Mignolet must have been bothered more by the downpour than the rivals. In the first half, only Gradel tried him in 40 ', from far away and very weak. And Hazard or De Bruyne did not play, we also said, but Trossard tried to hide it, who believed the '10' he was wearing on his back. The greatest danger until halftime came from a play of his that Batshuayi, as in 8 ', failed to hole in 17'.

On both occasions, after a measured pass from Saelemaekers, Crystal Palace took revenge in the 53rd minute, 11 goals in 11 starts with Bob Martínez. Meanwhile, the very young Doku (18 years old) had worked more than shone, his solution to the lack of drinkable balls. By then it was also clear that the Ivory Coast had better names than ideas. One of them, Zaha, took a penalty at the end. In 79 'Van Crombrugge had taken away the tie, but with the penalty, taken by Kessié, he could not in 86' ... After 13 consecutive victories, it is the first match that Belgium has not won since July 2018.

Photos from as.com
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