Friday 2 December 2016

Kompany sees red but Belgium hold on to move top of group

Published 01/04/2015 | 02:30

Belgium defender Vincent Kompany (C) receives a red card on March 31, 2015 during a Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Israel and Belgium at the Teddy Kollek Memorial Stadium in Jerusalem. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZJACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Belgium defender Vincent Kompany (C) receives a red card on March 31, 2015 during a Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Israel and Belgium at the Teddy Kollek Memorial Stadium in Jerusalem. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZJACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Marouane Fellaini grabbed an early goal as 10-man Belgium survived a spirited Israeli second-half performance to earn a 1-0 win in Euro 2016 qualifying Group B in Jerusalem.

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Belgium totally dominated the first half but could not capitalise beyond Fellaini's close-range effort in the ninth minute when he was teed up by Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany.

The visitors lacked urgency for the rest of the encounter and almost paid a high price for their failure to increase their lead as Kompany was sent off in the 64th minute for a second bookable offence.

The Israelis, who had struggled to find an opening against stout Belgian defending until Kompany's departure, managed to open gaps and create chances, although most of their efforts were wayward.

Belgium leapfrogged Israel to the top of the group, ahead of second-place Wales on goal difference, with both teams on 11 points from five matches.

REVIVED

Elsewhere, Netherlands revived bitter Spanish memories from last year's World Cup finals when they beat a second-string La Roja 2-0 in a friendly to become the first team to inflict two defeats on coach Vicente del Bosque.

Rather than reliving their World Cup final triumph against the Dutch from 2010, Spain were overrun in the opening 20 minutes at the Amsterdam Arena, falling behind to goals from Stefan de Vrij in the 13th minute and Davy Klaassen three minutes later.

Del Bosque, who had not lost twice to the same side since taking over in 2008, did field a largely experimental line-up, with Malaga forward Juanmi and Sevilla midfielder Vitolo making their international debuts.

However, he will have been concerned that the presence of the likes of experienced campaigners Cesc Fabregas and Santi Cazorla in his midfield did not prevent Netherlands from running away with the match in the early stages.

Elsewhere, Portugal were stunned by a 2-0 home defeat against Cape Verde Islands thanks to two first-half goals. Andre Pinto's red card on the hour rounded off a miserable night for Fernando Santos' team.

Irish Independent

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