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Belgium 1-1 Ivory Coast: 5 talking points as Franck Kessie cancels out Michy Batshuayi's opener | International friendly

Belgium played out 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast
Belgium played out 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast
Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Modified 09 Oct 2020, 07:09 IST
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Belgium and Ivory Coast played out a 1-1 draw at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, with Michy Batshuayi and Franck Kessie finding the back of the net for both sides.

After a goalless first half, new Napoli man Batshuayi put Belgium ahead in the 53rd minute, converting from close range after his initial shot had been saved by Sylvain Gbohouo.

This seemed to spark the Europeans into life, and the Belgians controlled most of the rest of the game. However, just when it seemed like they were poised for victory, Sebastiaan Bornauw was penalised for fouling Wilfried Zaha in the penalty area.

Franck Kessie stepped up to convert the ensuing spot-kick in the 87th minute and on the overall balance of play, a draw was probably the right result.

Up next for Belgium will be a Matchday 3 clash with England in the Nations League while Ivory Coast will trade tackles with Japan in another friendly next Tuesday.

Here, we shall have a rundown of five talking points from the fixture.

#5 High-profile friendly fails to live up to expectation

Despite being a friendly, fireworks were expected in the game given the pedigree of both sides but it failed to match the standards expected.

In what was a drab opening 45 minutes, neither side managed to fashion a shot on target and at full-time, both sides had tested the goalkeeper just five times between themselves.

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For most of the game, the two teams huffed and puffed but were let down by indecisiveness in the final third.

Perhaps safe in the knowledge that there was nothing attached to the game, neither side really went all out for the victory and were content to play the game at mid-tempo.

Considering that talented players like Zaha, Divock Origi, Kessie, Nicolas Pepe, and Leandro Trossard were on parade, this was rather disappointing.

#4 Roberto Martinez named heavily rotated side ahead of marquee fixtures for Belgium

Kevin de Bruyne was among a number of first-team Belgium players rested
Kevin de Bruyne was among a number of first-team Belgium players rested

As already indicated, Belgium have a mega clash with England this Sunday in the Nations League and after their match with the Three Lions, another tricky test awaits them when they travel to take on Iceland next Wednesday in the same competition.

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These two games have a lot more riding on them than the clash with Ivory Coast and it was with this in mind that Roberto Martinez named the Belgium starting line-up.

The former Everton manager gave starts to fringe players like Origi, Batshuayi, Dendoncker and Jeremy Doku while his usual star men like Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois were not even named on the substitutes bench.

It would be back to the status quo come Sunday, and this game gave these players a chance to stake a claim for their place in the Belgium squad for the Euro next year. However, on evidence of their displays, Martinez would not be having too many headaches.

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Published 09 Oct 2020, 07:09 IST
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