Belgium 1 Ivory Coast 1 – Belgium’s run of 12 successive wins comes to an end after Ivorians rescue a draw from the Penalty spot after falling behind to Michy Batshuayi opener
- Belgium rested a number of players ahead of Nations League clash with England
- Ivory Coast scored late on through a penalty after Nicolas Pepe was fouled
- AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie scored from the spot for the Ivorians
- First game in 11 months for the African side who play Japan next on Tuesday
A late equaliser from the penalty spot earned Ivory Coast a 1-1 draw with a second-string Belgium side in a friendly on Thursday, ending a run of 12 successive victories for the top team in the world rankings.
Michy Batshuayi converted from close range to give Belgium a 53rd-minute lead but Franck Kessie equalised for the visitors from the spot with four minutes remaining.
The Belgians rested almost all their regulars ahead of Sunday’s Nations League clash against England at Wembley but went ahead when Batshuayi converted from point-blank range at the second attempt after being set up by Alexis Saelemakers, one of five debutants used by coach Roberto Martinez.
Crystal Palace striker Michy Batshuayi puts the Belgians 1-0 up against the Ivory Coast
Former Everton boss Roberto Martinez has guided Belgium to the top of FIFA world rankings
Batshuayi also had the best chances of the first half, being denied by Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo and blasting a free kick from the edge of the penalty area wide.
Franck Kessie equalised for the Ivorians from the spot after Nicolas Pepe was brought down
Substitute goalkeeper Hendrick Van Crombrugge, who rejoined the squad hours before kick-off after the birth of his child this week and replace Simon Mignolet to earn his first cap, made a reflex stop to deny Nicolas Pepe an equaliser after Wilfried Zaha had cleverly set him up.
Zaha continued to trouble the home defence, however, and was fouled by debutant Sebastiaan Bornauw in the box, leading to Ivory Coast’s late penalty.
It was a first international in 11 months for the African side who next play Japan in Utrecht on Tuesday.
Belgium’s game against England on Sunday is followed by another Nations League match in Iceland on Wednesday.