Marouane Fellaini Header Sees Belgium Past Czech Republic in Friendly

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2017

Belgium's midfielder Marouane Fellaini (C) celebrates after scoring during a friendly football match between Belgium and Czech Republic, at the King Baudouin Stadium, on June 5, 2017 in Brussels. / AFP PHOTO / JOHN THYS        (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHN THYS/Getty Images

A Marouane Fellaini header saw Belgium to a 2-1 friendly win over the Czech Republic on Monday at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi finished off a slick move to give Belgium the lead in the 25th minute, but the Czech Republic were level just four minutes later, as Michal Krmencik capitalised on an error from Kevin De Bruyne to score.

Belgium stepped it up after half-time, and the Manchester United man was on hand in the 52nd minute to nod home a corner.

The visitors, having struck the post in the first period, rattled the woodwork again through Tomas Soucek in search of an equaliser.

The two goalscorers took to social media after the contest:

Belgium will next take to the field on Friday in Estonia for a FIFA World Cup qualifier, while the Czech Republic visit Norway in the same competition on Saturday.

From the off, there was an attacking potency about the Red Devils, with Romelu Lukaku causing a lot of problems for the visiting defence. 

Lukaku led the charge for Belgium early on.
Lukaku led the charge for Belgium early on.VI-Images/Getty Images

The Everton man forced a fine stop from Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik early on before going even closer minutes later, thudding a header against the post from close range. The visitors weren't getting tight to the forward and were punished on 25 minutes.

Lukaku threaded a lovely pass into the path of Batshuayi, who dipped into the penalty area and thrashed home a fierce shot. Here's a look at the strike:

Per Squawka Football, the Chelsea man has been in clinical form lately:

The dominance of the home team led to a bit of complacency four minutes later, as De Bruyne ambled back into his own area to collect the ball off Thibaut Courtois.

Instead of moving possession on, the City midfielder dallied with his back to play and was bustled off the ball by Ladislav Krejci. The Czech kept cool to roll the ball into the path of Krmencik, who tucked home despite the protests of the Belgium players.

The Czechs capitalised on an error to level.
The Czechs capitalised on an error to level.YORICK JANSENS/Getty Images

It nearly got worse for the home side, as the Czechs grew in confidence. As we can see courtesy of football journalist Vince Van Genechten, the highly rated Patrik Schick was inches away from putting his team ahead:

Belgium, as a result, were rather lucky to be on level terms at half-time despite their early dominance in the contest.

A flurry of changes at the break livened Belgium up. Kevin Mirallas stung the palms of Vaclik, and from the resulting corner, the Red Devils were back in front. Fellaini, on at the break, rose highest to divert home Dries Mertens' delivery.

Fellaini celebrates his goal.
Fellaini celebrates his goal.JOHN THYS/Getty Images

After putting his team ahead, the United midfielder was strutting his stuff in the middle of the park, via journalist Benoit Dardenne:

Despite falling behind for a second time in the match, the Czech Republic remained spirited and were close to levelling when Borek Dockal headed over when he should have hit the target.

They went even closer to an equaliser 10 minutes from time. Soucek did superbly to manufacture some space on the edge of the penalty area and angled in a pinpoint shot towards goal. Frustratingly for him, the strike ricocheted off the post and to safety.

For the hosts, Christian Benteke came closest to extending their lead, as he saw a low shot palmed away. But in the end, Roberto Martinez's side had to make do with a deserved yet underwhelming victory.


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