Michy Batshuayi's first-half goal proved enough for a below-par
Belgium to squeeze to a 1-0 win over a Canada side playing their
first World Cup match for 36 years on Wednesday, trend reports citing bein sports .
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved Alphonso Davies' early
penalty and Batshuayi opened the scoring against the run of play in
the 44th minute.
John Herdman's Canada, roared on by their vocal support, also
had another strong penalty appeal turned down and dominated the
second half to no avail.
Belgium were without injured record goalscorer Romelu Lukaku and
struggled throughout with the pace of Canada's forwards.
But the 2018 semi-finalists clung on to move top of what could
prove a hotly-contested Group F after Croatia and Morocco's
goalless draw earlier on Wednesday.
Canada will head into their game against Croatia on Sunday still
full of confidence after more than matching the team ranked second
in the world, who next face Morocco.
The North Americans, matching Belgium in formation by playing
three at the back, made a bright start and Jonathan David's low
effort was deflected wide.
From the resulting corner, Tajon Buchanan's strike was blocked
by Yannick Carrasco with his arm and a penalty was awarded after a
VAR check in the 11th minute.
But Davies produced a weak effort which was saved low to his
right by Courtois, before David lashed the rebound over the
Belgium's ageing defence were struggling with the pace of the
Canada attackers and Junior Hoilett got in behind before firing a
The underdogs kept coming, as Courtois palmed away right
wing-back Alistair Johnston's fierce drive and David headed off
- VAR controversy -
Canada had a big penalty appeal turned down despite a VAR review
when Axel Witsel was outpaced by Richie Laryea inside the area and
then tripped his opponent.
Belgium grabbed the lead out of nothing when a simple long ball
over the top from Toby Alderweireld found the run of Batshuayi who
hammered home left-footed.
There was still time for Canada to create, and waste, another
glorious opportunity before the break, as Laryea's low cross was
fired over on the slide by Buchanan from six yards out.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made a double substitution at
half-time to try and stem the tide, with Thomas Meunier replacing
Carrasco and Everton youngster Amadou Onana coming into the
Canada could have levelled just minutes after the restart,
though, as David headed wide from Stephen Eustaquio's delicious
cross after the Porto midfielder had nutmegged Kevin De Bruyne.
Herdman's men continued to flood forward, but could not find the
finishing touch required, with Buchanan miskicking horribly from
the edge of the box.
The more men Canada committed, the more dangerous Belgium looked
on the break and Laryea made a wonderful last-ditch tackle to deny
Batshuayi a second goal.
Substitute Cyle Larin, the top scorer in CONCACAF qualifying for
the tournament, headed too close to Courtois in a frantic
De Bruyne could have put the game to bed but blazed into the
crowd, while Larin sent another header spinning over Courtois' bar
as Belgium fell over the line.
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