_75599917_fellainiThe Belgian Red Devils kicked off their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over an impressive Algerian side in the Group H opener played at Estadio Mineirao.

Starting Line-Ups:

Belgium: Courtois(GK), Alderweireld, Kompany(C), Vertonghen, Witsel, De Bruyne, Lukaku, E. Hazard, Van Buyten, Dembele, Chadli

Algeria: Rais(GK), Bouguerra(C), Ghoulam, Halliche, Feghouli, Medjani, Bentaleb, Soudani, Taider, Mahrez, Mostefa

Belgium began the match as favorites but it was Algeria who made an impressive start to the match. The Red Devils enjoyed good possession early on, but the Africans maintained a high level of pressure and made life tricky for the Belgians. The first chance of the match came in the 18th minute when Algeria’s Mahrez’s shot went off the mark.

Belgium’s first good chance came in the 21st minute when Witsel’s shot was blocked by the Algerian goal-keeper. The Algerians continued making good chances in the next few minutes and in the 24th minute, Vertonghen was booked by the referee for a sloppy tackle on Feghouli and Algeria were given a penalty which was successfully converted by Feghouli himself. Algeria lead 1-0 at the end of 25 minutes.

Feghouli’s goal spurred the Red Devils who started committing more numbers forward in search of an equalizer. In the 34th minute, Witsel tried another long range shot which was blocked by Rais for a Belgian corner. At half time, Belgium went into the tunnel being behind by 1 goal. Marc Wilmots needed to make some changes for the Red Devils to get back in the game.

The second half began with Wilmots bringing on Mertens for Chadli. Mertens made a quick start in the game as his cross found Witsel whose shot went off target. Belgium made a promising start to the second half and Wilmots made his last two changes bringing on Origi for Lukaku and Fellaini for Dembele. Origi was denied by the Algerian goal-keeper in the 66th minute who made a great save. As the clock ticked, Belgium desperately searched for the equalizer by applying the pressure on the Algerian defence.

It was Wilmot’s third change, Fellaini with a superb header in the 70th minute to level the match and bring back the hopes of the Belgian fans. This goal was followed by a textbook counter-attack by Belgium in the 80th minute where Mertens scored the winning goal for the Red Devils through an unstoppable right-foot shot into the Algerian net.

The Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was elected the Man of the Match. The bench saved Marc Wilmots’ side after a shaky first half. The Red Devils now face Russia in their next match of Group H and would like to live up to their title of being dark horses for the trophy.

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