Late Belgium show defeats Algeria in Group H
Belgium need two late goals in the final 20 minutes of play to secure a 2-1 win over Algeria at the Estadio Mineirao on Tuesday evening to move on top of Group H.
It was a far from convincing display by Marc Wilmots’ men, who were frustrated for 70 minutes, as they had to crawl back from a goal behind after Sofiane Feghouli put his country in the lead via the penalty spot.
Belgium arrived into the game tipped to be the tournament’s dark horses with their star-studded side and it gave the Africans some extra motivation to cause an upset.
Djamel Zidane was the last man to score for Algeria back in 1986, but there was no real evidence of anxiety to end the draw as both teams took a cautious approach to the game.
With 15 minutes on the clock neither team had been able to produce an effort on goal, as Moussa Dembele tried to create a threat with a through-ball to Romelu Lukaku, but he couldn’t connect.
Algeria’s first sign of threat came moments later when Adi M’Bolhi picked up the ball in the box and sent it up field. It fell to Riyard Mahez and he dribbled with great pace into the Belgian box only to fire his shot wide.
Axel Witsel responded with an attack of his own as he unleashed a powerful daisy-cutter that forced the opposition keeper to palm it away and out of danger.
Staggeringly, it was the Foxes who managed to snatch the lead against the run of play when Jan Vertonghen was found guilty of bringing down Sofiane Feghouli inside the box three minutes later. The striker stood up to take the penalty himself and he made no error in converting from the spot.
Dries Mertens was introduced in place of Chadli at the start of the second-half as Wilmots tried to find a way back in the game.
It was a much more positive start to the second half by the Belgians and they came close to equalizing when Witsel tried to fire in an effort from close ranger after M’Bohli palmed it in his direction.
Divock Origi, who was introduced just before the hour mark, fired a potent shot at goal on 66 minutes that was beaten away by the opposing keeper, but there was nothing the Algerian could do to stop Marouane Fellaini.
De Bruyen curled a ball from the left flank into the box and it met the towering Fellaini, who nodded it into the back of the net from six-yards out to make it 1-1 with 20 minutes to go.
The game was then turned on its head ten minutes later when Belgium carried the ball from one side of the field to the other to see Dries Mertens fire a thunderbolt into the top of the net.