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Belgium see off ten-man Wales

Published: Friday 7 September 2012, 22.45CET
Wales 0-2 Belgium
Marc Wilmots' charges got their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start, aided by a 26th-minute red card for their hosts.
Belgium see off ten-man Wales
Belgium captain Vincent Kompany heads in a Dries Mertens corner ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 7 September 2012, 22.45CET

Belgium see off ten-man Wales

Wales 0-2 Belgium
Marc Wilmots' charges got their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start, aided by a 26th-minute red card for their hosts.

Belgium got off to the perfect start in Group A, earning a 2-0 victory over Wales, who played with ten men for more than an hour.

After a bright start, James Collins' 26th-minute red card put Chris Coleman's side on the back foot, and Vincent Kompany headed Belgium in front 15 minutes later. Jan Vertonghen fired in a free-kick seven minutes from time to round off the scoring.

Shorn of a host of players through injury, including captain Craig Bellamy and midfielders Joe Allen and Joe Ledley, Wales still started well. They almost took an early lead when David Edwards smashed the side netting after Steve Morison's flick gave Guillaume Gillet problems.

Belgium soon reasserted themselves, controlling possession and dropping in dangerous crosses via Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens. Indeed, Wales needed a brilliant last-ditch header by Collins to prevent Thomas Vermaelen meeting a wicked Mertens delivery. Collins was soon off the pitch, however, dismissed for a dangerous tackle on Gillet.

Mertens curled narrowly past the right post as Belgium sought to exploit their numerical advantage, and the opener arrived four minutes before the break, captain Kompany powerfully heading in a Mertens corner from a difficult position.

Mertens and Belgium immediately pinned back Wales from the restart. The winger neatly cut in from the left but handed Boaz Myhill a comfortable low save, and shortly after crossed expertly for Romelu Lukaku, whose header was deflected over.

Gareth Bale stung Thibaut Courtois' palms from a free-kick and Ashley Williams headed over from the following corner as Wales fought back. But it was Vertonghen who had the final say thanks to his drilled effort low inside Myhill's right-hand post.

Last updated: 08/05/14 8.44CET

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