FIFA World Cup: Super subs rescue Belgium against Algeria
Super subs Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens rescued World Cup dark horses Belgium in a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Algeria on Tuesday
BELO HORIZONTE (Brazil): Super subs Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens rescued World Cup dark horses Belgium in a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Algeria on Tuesday.
Algeria had taken a 25th-minute lead from a penalty by Sofiane Feghouli after he had been hauled down by Jan Vertonghen.
But Fellaini, who endured a miserable, goalless season with Manchester United, levelled with a powerful header in the 70th minute.
Belgium forward Dries Mertens (C) scores past Algerian goalkeeper Rais Mbohli (L) as defender Rafik Halliche (R) looks on during a Group H football match at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Ten minutes later, Mertens buried the second goal to give Belgium a winning start in a Group H which also includes Russia and South Korea.
Algeria stunned the fancied Belgians after Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen wrestled livewire Valencia striker Sofiane Feghouli to the ground.
Vertonghen was yellow-carded while Feghouli held his nerve to tuck a confident penalty beyond Thibaut Courtois in the Belgium goal.
It was Algeria's first World Cup goal since 1986 and conjured up memories of their famous 1982 win over West Germany.
Belgium were poor in the first half and had to wait until the end of the first half for their first serious attempt on goal when Nacer Chadli was put clean through by Eden Hazard.
But Chadli's effort was well-saved by Rais M'bolhi.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots, who has never lost a competitive fixture as national team coach, took off the sluggish Romelu Lukaku.
On came Divock Origi and then Fellaini and the more muscular approach paid off.
Fellaini headed in a pinpoint cross from Kevin De Bruyne's and 10 minutes later it was 2-1 as Mertens was left in too much space by the tiring Algerians and the Napoli man drove the ball home.
Another Fellaini header was tipped over by M'bolhi as Belgium finished the strongest.