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Two substitutes help Belgium rally to beat Algeria 2-1

English.news.cn   2014-06-18 04:36:03

BELO HORTZONTE, Brazil, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Two substitutes, Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens, scored respectively to help Belgium come from behind to beat Algeria 2-1 in their World Cup Group H opener here on Tuesday.

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said after the match that the ball control was the key and his team did quite well, especially in the second half.

Belgium boasted 65 percent of the ball possession of the match, 10 attempts on target against the opponents' one. They deserved the win.

The statistics showed that Belgium won a match in which they conceded first for the first time in over four years.

Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic said that his team is very young and lack experience. "And the opponents are superior in physiques and strength. It is very difficult for us in the game."

Both sides played patiently and cautiously until the 25th minute when Valencia striker Sofiane Feghouli converted a penalty to lift Algeria to 1-0 lead.

Just a minute before, Algeria's Napoli defender Faouzi Ghoulam ran down from the left and crossed a great ball. Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen could not follow Feghouli's pace and took him down in the box with a sloppy tackle.

Algeria hadn't scored at World Cups since 1986 - a run of 506 consecutive minutes of football - but with Bolivia's unwanted World Cup record (517 minutes) beckoning, they finally found a way through.

Belgium played a bit more aggresively after conceding the goal, but it seemed difficult to break the packed Algerian defense and Algeria's goalie Rais Mbolhi performed brilliantly with several great saves to keep the sheet clean until the 70th minute.

Manchester United midfielder Fellaini, who came off the bench in the second half, tied the score with a close-range header on De Bryune's cross. The ball hit the bottom of the bar and bounced into the net.

Belgium were really applying the pressure desperately searching for a win.

On 80 minutes, Napoli's Mertens, aslo a substitute, gifted Belgium the 2-1 lead. A textbook counter-attack started with a great tackle from De Bryune who found Hazard further up the pitch. The Chelsea midfielder selflessly passed off to Mertens who took a touch and fired past MBolhi.

Despite being the scorer, Wolfsburg's De Bruyne was elected the Man of the Match as he played key role in Belgium's two goals.

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard was the other key man in Belgium's rally as his agile play sturred the opponents' defense.

Besides Mertens and Fellaini, Divock Origi was also from the bench, and initially it was Origi who came closest to score. In the 66th minute, the 19-year-old's pace took him through and his low shot was powerfully struck, but Mbolhi stuck out a leg to make a brilliant instinctive save.

The Group H also has Russia and South Korea, who will face each other in the evening.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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