Goals late in each half consigned 10-man Wales to defeat in their opening 2014 World Cup qualifier in Cardiff.

Wales defender James Collins was sent off after 26 minutes for a lunge on Guillaume Gillet, and Belgium enjoyed almost total dominance thereafter.

Vincent Kompany's front-post header from a Dries Mertens corner gave the Group A favourites a deserved lead.

Gareth Bale was denied an equaliser by a superb save but Jan Vertonghen's late free-kick wrapped up victory.

Tottenham left-back Vertonghen and Manchester City centre-back Kompany were two of Belgium's seven Premier League contingent that started, and the visitors showed plenty of poise and power to dispatch a limited Wales without much difficulty.

It leaves Wales manager Chris Coleman still searching for his first win and first goal since taking over, but his side were left a near impossible task once Collins saw red.

Wales's injury problems

  • Joe Allen, Craig Bellamy, Wayne Hennessey, Neil Taylor, Joe Ledley Jack Collison and Andrew Crofts were all missing as Wales started a fourth successive World Cup or European Championship qualifying campaign with defeat

Having already been consigned to the role of firm underdogs, Wales were on the back foot even before the first whistle following the loss of Joe Allen.

Illness deprived Coleman of his most accomplished passer, forcing centre-back Ashley Williams to leave his comfort zone in defence for a holding midfield role.

That left a back four which, although all nurtured at Cardiff City, had never before played alongside each other.

But their night as a defensive unit lasted only 26 minutes before Collins was sent off in controversial circumstances.

Until then, Wales had acquitted themselves well in the face of Belgium's obvious superiority in possession, and even threatened as David Edwards found the side netting after 10 minutes.

Coleman 'delighted' despite defeat

Collins, returning to the side for the first time in 18 months, had made a crucial intervention in his own six-yard box to deny Thomas Vermaelen, but moments later the West Ham defender stared in disbelief at his red card.

Both he and right-back Gillet left the ground with studs showing as they lunged for a loose ball in midfield, but the Welshman was marginally late and caught the Belgian's ankle.

Wales re-organised well as Williams slotted back from midfield, but the home side's resistance was broken three minutes before half-time.

The outstanding Mertens, who had already fired inches wide, whipped a vicious corner towards the Wales front post and Kompany used his strength to resist Darcy Blake's challenge to head past Boaz Myhill.

While Belgium had looked more than capable against 11 men, their numerical advantage almost turned the game into a training exercise.

Mertens, Vertonghen, Axel Witsel and substitute Romelu Lukaku peppered Myhill's goal with shots as Belgium camped in the Welsh half.

The sharpness of the visitors' passing eventually began to drop and Bale almost made them pay with a fiercely driven free-kick from 25 yards that needed a fine fingertips save from the otherwise untested Thibaut Courtois.

But just as the home side began to raise hope of an unlikely equaliser, Vertonghen's thunderous strike settled matters eight minutes from time.

Again Wales were unhappy with Swedish referee Stefan Johannesson as he gave a free-kick for a soft foul on Lukaku, and Vertonghen hammered past Myhill's despairing dive from 20 yards.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Wales

  • 01 Myhill
  • 02 Gunter
  • 03 Matthews
  • 05 Collins Dismissed
  • 06 Williams Booked
  • 11 Bale
  • 04 Edwards (King - 79' )
  • 05 Blake
  • 10 Ramsey
  • 08 Church (Robson-Kanu - 71' )
  • 09 Morison (Vokes - 71' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 12 Brown
  • 21 Price
  • 13 Davies
  • 14 Ricketts
  • 15 Richards
  • 16 Vaughan
  • 17 King
  • 20 Williams
  • 22 Robson-Kanu
  • 18 Earnshaw
  • 19 Vokes

Belgium

  • 01 Courtois
  • 02 G Gillet Booked
  • 03 Vermaelen
  • 04 Kompany
  • 05 Vertonghen Booked
  • 08 Witsel
  • 10 Hazard
  • 11 Mertens
  • 18 Fellaini
  • 07 Dembele (De Bruyne - 64' )
  • 14 Mirallas (Lukaku - 45' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Mignolet
  • 21 J-F Gillet
  • 13 Ciman
  • 13 Alderweireld
  • 16 Van Buyten
  • 19 Lombaerts
  • 06 Defour
  • 22 Simons
  • 09 Benteke
  • 15 De Bruyne
  • 17 De Camargo
  • 20 Lukaku
Ref: Johannesson
Att: 20,156

Match Stats

Shots

5 22

On target

3 11

Corners

6 16

Fouls

7 11

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:03 Full time

Full Time The match has reached full-time.

90:00 +1:42

Aaron Ramsey takes a corner.

90:00 +1:28

Hal Robson-Kanu takes a shot. Thomas Vermaelen gets a block in.

90:00 +1:04

Aaron Ramsey takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.

90:00 +0:32

Outswinging corner taken by Aaron Ramsey, clearance by Thomas Vermaelen.

90:00 +0:18

Gareth Bale takes a shot. Blocked by Romelu Lukaku.

88:52

Aaron Ramsey takes the direct free kick.

88:52 Booking

Booking The referee shows Jan Vertonghen a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

88:43

Jan Vertonghen challenges Andy King unfairly and gives away a free kick.

88:02

Shot on goal by Thomas Vermaelen from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

86:18

Corner taken by Kevin De Bruyne.

85:32

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Dries Mertens.

84:47

Kevin De Bruyne takes a shot. Blocked by Adam Matthews. Axel Witsel takes a shot. Adam Matthews gets a block in. Dries Mertens takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Sam Vokes makes a clearance.

82:59 Booking

Booking The referee books Sam Vokes for unsporting behaviour.

82:59 Booking

Booking Ashley Williams is given a yellow card.

81:43

The assist for the goal came from Dries Mertens.

81:43 Goal scored

Goal! - Jan Vertonghen - Wales 0 - 2 Belgium Jan Vertonghen finds the net with a goal from outside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Wales 0-2 Belgium.

81:11

Aaron Ramsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Romelu Lukaku. Dries Mertens restarts play with the free kick,

78:36

Boaz Myhill takes the direct free kick.

78:36 Substitution

Substitution Andy King is brought on as a substitute for David Edwards.

78:36 Booking

Booking Guillaume Gillet goes into the book.

78:25

Foul by Guillaume Gillet on Gareth Bale, free kick awarded.

76:49

Marouane Fellaini concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Gunter. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.

76:19

Corner taken by Dries Mertens, save made by Boaz Myhill.

76:10

Romelu Lukaku takes a shot. Blocked by Adam Matthews.

75:17

Kevin De Bruyne produces a cross, save by Boaz Myhill.

74:40

Outswinging corner taken by Dries Mertens from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Sam Vokes.

74:26

Dries Mertens takes a shot. Clearance by Darcy Blake.

70:41 Substitution

Substitution Steve Morison leaves the field to be replaced by Sam Vokes.

70:41 Substitution

Substitution Hal Robson-Kanu joins the action as a substitute, replacing Simon Church.

70:28

Effort from the edge of the box by Axel Witsel goes wide of the right-hand upright.

69:11

Kevin De Bruyne takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Steve Morison makes a clearance.

64:59

Chris Gunter fouled by Romelu Lukaku, the ref awards a free kick. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.

63:24

Boaz Myhill takes the direct free kick.

63:24 Substitution

Substitution Mousa Dembele goes off and Kevin De Bruyne comes on.

63:24

The assistant referee signals for offside against Marouane Fellaini.

63:09

Short corner taken by Eden Hazard from the right by-line.

62:40

Corner taken by Eden Hazard from the right by-line, Aaron Ramsey makes a clearance.

62:14

Aaron Ramsey concedes a free kick for a foul on Guillaume Gillet. Free kick taken by Guillaume Gillet.

61:40

Foul by Romelu Lukaku on Darcy Blake, free kick awarded. Boaz Myhill takes the free kick.

60:12

Corner taken right-footed by Aaron Ramsey from the right by-line, save made by Thibaut Courtois.

59:33

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Williams heads at goal, Thomas Vermaelen gets a block in.

58:29

Guillaume Gillet challenges Gareth Bale unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot comes in from Gareth Bale from the free kick, save by Thibaut Courtois.

57:05

Shot by Jan Vertonghen from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.

55:36

Corner taken by Eden Hazard, Steve Morison makes a clearance.

55:16

The ball is delivered by Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku takes a shot. Blocked by Adam Matthews.

54:28

Shot by Axel Witsel from outside the area goes high over the crossbar.

52:39

Romelu Lukaku delivers the ball.

49:40

Effort from outside the box by Axel Witsel goes wide right of the target.

48:16

Dries Mertens takes a shot. Save by Boaz Myhill.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +2:11 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +1:29

Close range shot by Kevin Mirallas goes wide of the right-hand upright.

45:00 +0:17

A cross is delivered by Gareth Bale.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Kevin Mirallas leaves the field to be replaced by Romelu Lukaku.

43:51

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Dries Mertens from the left by-line, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Marouane Fellaini goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

41:03

Dries Mertens provided the assist for the goal.

41:03 Goal scored

Goal! - Vincent Kompany - Wales 0 - 1 Belgium Vincent Kompany finds the back of the net with a headed goal from deep inside the penalty area. Wales 0-1 Belgium.

40:34

Dries Mertens takes the inswinging corner,

40:10

Gareth Bale gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Thibaut Courtois. Thibaut Courtois restarts play with the free kick.

39:46

Mousa Dembele takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Williams.

39:01

Effort on goal by Thomas Vermaelen from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

37:15

The ball is swung over by Dries Mertens.

35:49

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Aaron Ramsey.

34:55

Dries Mertens produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.

34:05

Corner taken by Dries Mertens from the left by-line, Steve Morison manages to make a clearance.

31:05

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Dries Mertens from the left by-line, Headed effort from close range by Vincent Kompany goes wide left of the goal.

30:55

Dries Mertens takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Ramsey.

28:53

Dries Mertens takes a shot. David Edwards gets a block in.

25:04

Direct free kick taken by Axel Witsel.

25:04 Dismissal

Dismissal James Collins receives a red card for professional foul.

24:54

Guillaume Gillet fouled by James Collins, the ref awards a free kick.

24:09

Foul by Jan Vertonghen on Gareth Bale, free kick awarded. Aaron Ramsey crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel.

23:16

Aaron Ramsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Eden Hazard. Dries Mertens crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, save by Boaz Myhill.

22:52

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Dries Mertens from the left by-line to the near post, Ashley Williams makes a clearance.

22:45

The ball is delivered by Dries Mertens, Simon Church makes a clearance.

22:23

Dries Mertens takes the outswinging corner, Gareth Bale makes a clearance.

21:57

Dries Mertens delivers the ball, Kevin Mirallas takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in.

20:58

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Dries Mertens, clearance made by James Collins.

17:58

Gareth Bale produces a cross.

17:06

Foul by Dries Mertens on Chris Gunter, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.

15:25

Free kick awarded for a foul by Marouane Fellaini on Aaron Ramsey. Free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.

9:16

David Edwards has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.

8:29

Unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey by Jan Vertonghen results in a free kick. Free kick taken by James Collins.

3:59

Eden Hazard concedes a free kick for a foul on Simon Church. Boaz Myhill restarts play with the free kick.

3:34

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Thomas Vermaelen by Steve Morison. Free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.

2:41

The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Boaz Myhill.

0:38

Eden Hazard fouled by Ashley Williams, the ref awards a free kick. Axel Witsel takes the indirect free kick.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to start the match.

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