BRENNAN JOHNSON came to Wales’ rescue after the supersub got their Nations League campaign up and running with a late leveller against Belgium.
Brennan Johnson netted late on to snatch a draw for Wales against BelgiumCredit: PA
The Nottingham Forest came off the bench to replace Gareth BaleCredit: Getty
But new hero Johnson needed a lengthy VAR check for a possible offside before he could peel off in delight at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Johnson is viewed as the long-term replacement for talisman Gareth Bale and, after replacing the Wales captain on 73 minutes, the 21-year-old came up trumps on his 12th cap to give Robert Page’s side their first point of the competition.
Leicester ace Tielemans coolly slotted home from Michy Batshuayi’s 50th minute lay-off to stroke the ball low past Wayne Hennessey.
And his impressive all-action display in Cardiff showed just why the Gunners are looking at him.
After opening defeats for Wales to Poland and the Netherlands, Page’s World Cup finalists remain rock-bottom, trailing nearest rivals Belgium and Poland by three points with three matches to play.
But this point will give the Dragons a much needed boost with the Poles still to come to Cardiff in September.
In all, Page has just three more matches, starting with the trip to the Netherlands in Rotterdam on Tuesday, before Wales kick-off their finals campaign in Qatar against USA on November 21 with Group B games with Iran and arch rivals England to follow.
Bale, who is leaving Real Madrid at the end of this month, will have a new club by then but even Wales’ captain and talisman could not inspire his team-mates during his time on the pitch.
In an entertaining clash, Ethan Ampadu thought he had netted his first international goal to stun the world’s No 2 ranked side.
But the Chelsea defender’s sweet left-footed strike in the fifth minute was ruled out after a VAR check for an offside on Joe Rodon in the build-up.
Belgium survived the scare and then quickly tested Hennessey, Wales’ hero here six days earlier in the World Cup play-off triumph over Ukraine.
Youri Tielemans opened the scoring for BelgiumCredit: Reuters
He made nine saves last Sunday and the Burnley keeper was called into action to stop Tielemans.
Without Kieffer Moore due to a back injury, Page trialled Dan James in attack with Bale.
The pair linked up on 14 minutes when James latched onto Ampadu’s ball over the top and squared for Bale, who could only fire wide at the near post.
Chances flowed and Yannick Carrasco saw an effort from Kevin de Bruyne’s long cross saved by Hennessey.
Connor Roberts headed over from Joe Allen’s centre but that was the final action for the Stoke midfielder, who appeared to pull his hamstring in the motion of crossing the ball.
Allen, who was handed his professional debut by Red Devils boss Roberto Martinez at Swansea 15 years ago, headed straight down the tunnel in the 38th minute after being replaced by Ramsey.
Burnley full-back Roberts could not keep his effort down as he spurned another chance before Belgium finished the half strongly.
Leandro Trossard put the ball wide after Batshuayi’s shot was diverted to the Brighton man before De Bruyne tested Hennessey at his near post.
Neco Williams flashed a shot wide early in the second half before Belgium struck.
The lively Trossard made ground down the right flank, supplied Batshuayi and the Chelsea forward, who has been on loan with Besiktas in Turkey, fed the advancing Tielemans who gave Hennessey no chance with a smart finish.
Tottenham centre-back Rodon fired high and wide over the crossbar when well placed on the edge of the penalty area.
Bale was replaced by Johnson with 17 minutes left and there was an instant glimpse of Johnson’s potential when the Nottingham Forest attacker ran at the Belgian defence, cut inside and saw his shot deflected wide.
Wales huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, Rodon headed over from Ramsey’s free-kick before Johnson snatched a draw.
Wayne Hennessy impressed again between the sticksCredit: Reuters
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