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International Friendly: Belgium Winning Streak Halted in Draw with Ivory Coast

Belgium's Michy Batshuayi  (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Belgium's Michy Batshuayi (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Michy Batshuayi converted from close range to give Belgium a 53rd-minute lead but Franck Kessie equalised for Ivory Coast in their 1-1 draw.

A late equaliser from the penalty spot earned Ivory Coast a 1-1 draw with a second-string Belgium side in a friendly on Thursday, ending a run of 12 successive victories for the top team in the world rankings.

Michy Batshuayi converted from close range to give Belgium a 53rd-minute lead but Franck Kessie equalised for the visitors from the spot with four minutes remaining.

The Belgians rested almost all their regulars ahead of Sunday’s Nations League clash against England at Wembley but went ahead when Batshuayi converted from point-blank range at the second attempt after being set up by Alexis Saelemakers, one of five debutants used by coach Roberto Martinez.

Batshuayi also had the best chances of the first half, being denied by Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo and blasting a free kick from the edge of the penalty area wide.

Substitute goalkeeper Hendrick Van Crombrugge, who rejoined the squad hours before kick-off after the birth of his child this week and replace Simon Mignolet to earn his first cap, made a reflex stop to deny Nicolas Pepe an equaliser after Wilfried Zaha had cleverly set him up.

Zaha continued to trouble the home defence, however, and was fouled by debutant Sebastiaan Bornauw in the box, leading to Ivory Coast’s late penalty.

It was a first international in 11 months for the African side who next play Japan in Utrecht on Tuesday.

Belgium’s game against England on Sunday is followed by another Nations League match in Iceland on Wednesday.


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