Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | International

Dries Mertens © Action Images

Mertens strikes late as Belgium win



A 90th-minute strike by midfielder Dries Mertens salvaged a 2-1 win for Belgium over Slovakia on Wednesday in an international friendly that the hosts had dominated until it sprung into life in the closing stages.

Belgium, joint top of their World Cup qualifying group with Croatia, had some two-thirds of the ball in a fully one-sided first half that at times felt like an exhibition match with Eden Hazard's flicks and back-heels.

Hazard's 10th minute penalty, after he had struck the ball against Slovak defender Tomas Hubocan's arm to prompt the spot kick and then sent keeper Dusan Kuciak the wrong way, was the hosts' slim reward for bossing the game.

Belgium's main frustration was their failure to convert possession into goals, a shortfall shown at times in World Cup qualifiers so far, with last-ditch Slovak defending thwarting them on a number of occasions on Wednesday.

Belgian coach Marc Wilmots, who had expressed his displeasure about playing a friendly during a busy month, lauded his team for their first half display and said they should have been well clear at the break.

Slovakia, coming off the back of a 3-0 friendly loss to the Czech Republic in November, were livelier in the second half and finally made Belgian keeper Jean-Francois Gillet work in the 50th minute when Marek Hamsik forced a save.

Amid a string of replacements, the match looked to be heading Belgium's way until the 87th minute when Richard Lasik seized on a poor clearance to drive in and make it 1-1 – the final score in the nation's two previous meetings.

Wilmots and many in the Bruges crowd had their heads in their hands but Mertens then stepped up. He swept in from the left and found the corner with a right-foot winner in the final minute of normal time.

For the much-fancied Belgians it marked a return to winning ways after they let slip an early lead to lose 2-1 in a friendly in Romania in November.

Belgium face back-to-back matches against Macedonia on March 22 and 26, when they will hope captain Vincent Kompany is fit again and back at the heart of their defence.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Barclays Premier League - Matchday 4: Crystal Palace v Burnley
Blitz Bulletin - September 15
PSL TV - Extra Time - Ep 271

Sports Talk



Claudia Ekai
How the mighty fell
African football history tells many stories of the rise and fall of stars that once had the world...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Nigerian football farce
Anyone in Africa who follows football is aware of the farce that has been going on in the football...

Emeka Enyadike
Shakes, Big Boss and Cape of Good Hope
When South Africa and Nigeria meet tonight in Cape Town, one word will dominate the thoughts of...

Neil Tovey
The value of Vilakazi
With Sibusiso Vilakazi having coming off the bench to score a brace for Bafana Bafana against...

John Dykes
The shocking truth about the BPL
Having taken stock of the opening exchanges in the new BPL season, it looks as if the league’s key...

Dr Errol Sweeney
A cheat is a cheat is a cheat
You can dress it up any way you want to. A cheat is a cheat is a cheat.