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Marko Mumm/Associated Press

Belgium wasted little energy on their way to another win in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying on Friday, beating Estonia 2-0 in Tallinn.

Dries Mertens gave the Red Devils the lead before half-time, and when Artjom Dmitrijev was sent off shortly before the break, Estonia’s chances of an upset win were doomed.

Nacer Chadli doubled the advantage after the break, concluding a simple win for the visitors.

Here’s a look at the Belgian team that started the match:


And the Estonian team, via Sports Mole:


Belgium predictably dominated from the opening whistle, and Chadli headed the first chance of the match over the bar after just four minutes. The West Bromwich Albion man remained active, firing wide after a great run a few minutes later.

The Red Devils kept looking for Romelu Lukaku in the box, but their crosses were a tad too high, and the wingers didn’t have the patience to wait for Marouane Fellaini to join him in the box.

It took the Belgians half an hour to take the lead, as a fine cross from Kevin De Bruyne escaped the grasp of goalkeeper Mihkel Aksalu, and Mertens took advantage with the easy tap-in.

Football Radar’s Alastair Gartenberg was not impressed:


The goal didn’t lead to more openings, as Estonia seemed content to defend the disadvantage. Lukaku did get another chance after a wonderful pass from Fellaini, but somehow, the Everton man fired his shot right at Aksalu, with the entire goal begging.

Two minutes later, Dmitrijev saw a straight red card for a dreadful tackle on Fellaini, going over the ball with his studs. Per Gartenberg, it was the correct decision:


Belgium pushed Estonia way back to start the second half, and Jan Vertonghen drew a fine save from Aksalu with a tricky low shot. The resulting corner fell to Yannick Carrasco, who cleverly played in Mertens. The scorer couldn’t put enough power behind his effort, however.

Axel Witsel was the next man to go close, volleying wide, and suddenly, chances came fast, with Fellaini and Carrasco both denied by Aksalu within seconds of each other.

Aksalu really had the chance to show his abilities and did so again when De Bruyne unleashed a screamer. 

Marko Mumm/Associated Press

Estonia tried to push for a late equaliser, but Belgium hit them on the counter, with De Bruyne picking out Chadli, who doubled the lead.

The hosts answered with their first chance on goal, as Konstantin Vassiljev blasted a shot off the crossbar out of nowhere. Despite some late pressure, Belgium kept their clean sheet.

With Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina drawing, Belgium increase their lead in Group H to four points.



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