A Michy Batshuayi strike at the twilight of the first half was enough for Belgium as they edged past a spirited Canada side 1-0 in the World Cup on Thursday. Canada created numerous chances and were the better side by a margin, but couldn't score a goal to showcase their dominance at the Ahmed Bin Ali stadium.
As it Happened:
The match, much to the surprise, was lit up by Canada in the early minutes. The North American side looked by far the better team and got a reward for their early pressure. Yannick Carrasco's handball led to a penalty after a VAR check but Alphonso Davies' spot kick was saved terrifically by Belgian custodian Thibaut Courtois. The 2018 Golden Glove winner was called up again as Canada were by far the better team.
But Belgium pounced with the minimum sniff when Michy Batshuayi was found by a long ball from Toby Alderweireld, and the striker rifled past a stranded Borjan to give Belgium the lead in the 44th minute. Canada's Tajon Buchanan had a glorious opportunity to restore parity, but the 23-year-old blazed his shot over from point-blank range as Belgium went to the break with a slender lead.
Roberto Martinez made a couple of changes at halftime to assert control in the midfield as Youri Tielemans and Yannick Carrasco were substituted by Amadou Onana and Thomas Meunier. Canada had the first chance of the half but Jonathan David's header was wide of the goal.
Michy Batshuayi had opportunities to extend the lead, but Canada defended exceedingly well to keep the score at 1-0. Canada showed their talent in flashes but the Red Devils held on to grind out a victory and managed to come away with all three points.
Belgium vs Canada Lineup:
Belgium: Courtois; Dendoncker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Castagne, Tielemans (Onana), Witsel, Carrasco (Meunier); De Bruyne, Hazard (Trossard); Batshuayi (Openda)
Canada: Borjan; Johnston, Vitoria, Miller; Laryea (Adekugbe), Hutchinson (Kone), Eustaquio (Osorio), Davies; Buchanan (Millar), Hoilett (Larin); David
With the win, Belgium have gone to the top of Group F. Belgium will be squaring up against Morocco in their next match on Sunday (18.30 PM IST kick-off) while Canada will face Croatia on the same day (21.30 PM IST kick-off).
(Stats: Opta, FOTMOB)