KEVIN DE BRUYNE said before the game he was “a little bit bored” of facing Wales.
But in the ninth meeting in as many years between these two nations, the Manchester City maestro had everyone on the edge of their seats.
Kevin de Bruyne may be bored of playing Wales but he didn’t show itCredit: Reuters
De Bruyne notched a goal and an assist as the Red Devils ran out 2-1 winnersCredit: AFP
Michy Batshuayi tapped in Belgium’s second after De Bruyne’s pinpoint crossCredit: Getty
KdB scored one and created a second for Michy Batshuayi as Belgium threatened to run riot in the opening half.
Credit to the depleted Dragons for making a game of it in the second half thanks to Kieffer Moore’s towering header.
But Wales will not be too worried if they never have to go up against De Bruyne in this kind of mood again.
Several of Rob Page’s big names had been forced out of the squad due to injury – including Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Ben Davies.
Skipper Gareth Bale had travelled back from the US to be part of it – but the coach said it would have been ‘crazy’ to start him.
So it was an experimental Dragons team fielded against a Belgium side packed full of star quality.
The visitors actually started brightly but fell behind in the blink of an eye after just 10 minutes.
Michy Batshuayi pulled back for De Bruyne who stroked home first time from the edge of the box with typical nonchalance.
Youri Tielemans and Batshuayi both fluffed golden chances – while the imperious KdB smacked a low shot against Wayne’s Hennessey’s post.
Former Chelsea man Eden Hazard cut in from the left and fizzed a shot across goal to remind everyone how good he once was.
A second goal was only a matter of time and it duly arrived when De Bruyne crossed from the right for Batshuayi to tap in at the back post.
The City ace again went through late in the first half but this time denied by the out-stretched foot of Hennessey.
Kieffer Moore pulled one back for the Welsh but it wasn’t enoughCredit: Reuters
Page would have been grateful to hear the half-time whistle knowing a two goal deficit flattered his team.
Belgium know better than anyone that you write the Dragons off at your peril and sure enough within five minutes of the re-start though they were back in it.
Brennan Johnson finally took on his man and hung up a cross from the right that was perfect for Moore to head home.
That’s nine goals in 27 international games for the giant Bournemouth forward who could be a real weapon in Qatar.
Wales threw on LA FC new boy Bale midway through the second half to try to salvage an unlikely point.
In true Hollywood style, he could have got them level too, nodding over within minutes of coming on.
De Bruyne thought he had won his team a penalty when he went down under a challenge from Joe Morrell late on – but the VAR rightly over-ruled it.
Johnson and Neco Williams both had late chances to nick an equaliser, while Roberto Martinez was sent to the stands for time-wasting – as the game turned out to be anything but boring.
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