MATCH CENTRE

SAT 23 JUNE 2018, 14:00, SPARTAK STADIUM

5
VS
2

Tunisia thrashed by Belgium, on verge of elimination

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Sat June 23, 16:10

Tunisia’s 2018 World Cup campaign is hanging by a thread after they suffered a 5-2 thrashing at the hands of Belgium at the Otkritie Arena in Moscow on Saturday afternoon.

The ‘Carthage Eagles’ will be mathematically eliminated in the likely event that England avoid defeat against Panama in the other Group G match on Sunday – that would also confirm progression for the ‘Red Devils’ who top the standings with six points.

Belgium had a couple of threatening moments early on and their aggression was rewarded with a penalty, with Eden Hazard tripped up just inside the 18-yard area by Syam Ben Youssef. Hazard took the spot kick himself and converted for a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.

Just over 10 minutes later the ‘Red Devils’ doubled their advantage: Tunisia gave the ball away on the halfway line, Dries Mertens powered forward and played in Romelu Lukaku, who provided a classy finish for 2-0.

Tunisia struck back quickly to reduce the deficit, with Wahbi Khazri’s free kick glanced home by Dylan Bronn. The full-back’s first international goal made it 2-1 in the 18th minute, but he was soon replaced by Hamdi Nagguez after suffering a knee injury.

And the ‘Carthage Eagles’, who created several promising chances through the remainder of the first half, were dealt yet another injury blow and forced into bringing Yohan Belalouane off the bench to replace Syan Ben Youssef in the 41st minute.

Belgium struck again in injury time at the end of the first half, with Thomas Meunier teeing up Lukaku – the striker chipped a delicate shot past Farouk Ben Mustapha to make it 3-1 at the interval.

The European side extended their advantage six minutes after the restart, with Hazard running onto a long ball from Toby Alderweireld, rounding the goalkeeper and shooting into an unguarded net to make it 4-1.

With the points in the bag, manager Robert Martinez took both Lukaku and Hazard off, though there was let off in attacking intensity from the Belgians, and substitute Michy Batshuayi could have scored a hat-trick had he been more ruthless.

The replacement striker finally bagged a goal in the last minute of regulation time, while Tunisia also scored a consolation through Khazri in the dying seconds of the game to complete the 5-2 score line.

Belgium will wrap up their Group G campaign with a clash against England in Kaliningrad on Thursday, while Tunisia will face Panama in Saransk in a concurrent match.

Belgium (3) 5 (E. Hazard pen 7’ 51’, Lukaku 16’ 45+3’, Batshuayi 90’)
Tunisia (1) 2 (Bronn 18’, Khazri 90+3’)

Belgium: Courtois, Boyata, Meunier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Witsel, E. Hazard (Batshuayi 68’), Carrasco, De Bruyne, Lukaku (Fellaini 59’), Mertens (Tielemans 86’)

Tunisia: Mustapha, Maaloul, Bronn (Nagguez 24’), SB Youssef (Benalouane 41’), Meriah, Sassi (Sliti 60’), Khaoui, Skhiri, Badri, Khazri, FB Youssef

MATCH STATISTICS
MATCH VENUE REFEREE
GROUP STAGE SPARTAK STADIUM
BELGIUM GOALS TUNISIA GOALS
9. Romelu Lukaku (16') 11. Dylan Bronn (18')
9. Romelu Lukaku (45 + 3') 10. Wahbi Khazri (90 + 3')
10. Eden Hazard (51')
10. Eden Hazard (7')
21. Michy Batshuayi (90')
CAUTIONS DISMISSALS CAUTIONS DISMISSALS
1
BELGIUM STARTING LINEUP TUNISIA STARTING LINEUP
Goalkeeper
1
Goalkeeper
1
Defender
20
Defender
12
Defender
5
Defender
18'
24'
11
Defender
15
Defender
41'
2
2
Defender
4
Midfielder
6
Midfielder
17
Midfielder
7'
51'
68'
10
Midfielder
14'
60'
13
Midfielder
7
Midfielder
7
Midfielder
11
Forward/Striker
9
Forward/Striker
86'
14
Forward/Striker
8
Forward/Striker
16'
45 + 3'
59'
9
Forward/Striker
90 + 3'
10
SUBSTITUTIONS
Marouane Fellaini
Midfielder
59'
8
Hamdi Nagguez
Defender
24'
21
Michy Batshuayi
Forward/Striker
68'
21
Yohan Benalouane
Midfielder
41'
3
Youri Tielemans
Midfielder
86'
17
Naim Sliti
Midfielder
60'
23
CARDS
Ferjani Sassi
Midfielder
14'
13
KEY
Goal
Penalty Missed
Yellow Card
Substitute IN
Own Goal
Penalty Shootout Goal
Yellow / Red Card
Substitute OUT
Penalty
Penalty Shootout Miss
Red Card
Injury
GALLERY
COMMENTS
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