MX23RW : Thursday, April 9 08:03:47| >> :600:950919:950919:
Jun 9, 2017 at 7.45pm UK

Dmitrijev (44'), Mets (83')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Mertens (31'), Chadli (86')

Live Commentary: Estonia 0-2 Belgium - as it happened

Relive Belgium's uninspiring 2-0 win over Estonia in World Cup qualifying with Sports Mole's live coverage of the event.

Belgium beat Estonia 2-0 in Tallin tonight.

Dries Mertens opened the scoring in the first half, before the hosts' chances of a comeback suffered a huge blow when Artjom Dmitrijev received a straight red card.

Roberto Martinez's side tried and failed to build on their lead throughout a poor second half, but Nacer Chadli finally put the game beyond Estonia in the dying minutes.

Consequence of the victory, the Red Devils stay top of Group H in World Cup qualifying.

Well hello there and welcome to Sports Mole's live commentary of Estonia's World Cup qualifier with a star-studded Belgium side at the A. Le Coq arena in Tallinn. Let's avoid a crass joke this early and get straight into the team news, shall we?

Belgium XI: Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Witsel, De Bruyne, Fellaini, Carrasco, Chadli; Mertens, Lukaku

Estonia XI: Aksalu; Pikk, Kait, Zenjov, Vassiljev, Klavan, Luts, Mets, Dmitrijev, Baranov, Teniste

As you can see, Belgium arrive here with more stars than one of Stephen Hawking's copybooks back in the day. There is one notable absentee however. There is no room for Eden Hazard, who will miss a few months with an ankle injury. Romelu Lukaku, strongly linked with a move away from Everton, spearheads the forward line, whereas there's also Premier League representation from, well, all of them except Axel Witsel, Mertens and Yannick Carrasco.

In contrast, Estonia, as you can see, have less stars than Celebrity Big Brother - unless you consider Ragnar Klavan, the Liverpool defender, a star, which you won't do providing you're sane. Mattias Kait, who scored twice in a 4-0 win over Gibraltar earlier in the campaign, is Estonia's highest goalscorer in qualifying so far.

Martin Reim's side might go into this with something of a complex after the Belgians doled out an 8-1 thumping in the reverse fixture. Dries Mertens and Lukaku both came away from Brussels that night with one brace apiece and you wouldn't back against them repeating that feat - or even bettering it - would you? Of course not. Between them, they scored 53 league goals for the Toffees and Napoli last season. It could be a long night for the hosts.

Victory tonight - and let's face it, it will be a victory - and Belgium will maintain their spot at the summit of Group H. Roberto Martinez's side are two points clear of second-placed Greece and three ahead of third-placed Bosnia and Herzegovina. They play one another tonight, so a 0-0 draw, coupled with an away win in Tallinn, is the best case scenario for the visitors tonight.

And what about Estonia? Well, they're fifth in a six-team group after winning four points from a possible 15 thus far - the comfortable win over Gibraltar representing their only victory in the qualifying campaign so far. We won't be seeing them in Russia next summer, but there is, believe it or not, such a thing as professional pride and Reim's boys will be hoping to summon a bit of that tonight. Fifteen minutes from kickoff.

Alright so we haven't been overly complimentary to Estonia so far, and pretty much ruled out a home win already, but here's something to chew on, my friends: Estonia, oddly enough, go into this one on the back of a decent win after thumping Croatia 3-0 here back in March.

Did you know? Estonia boss Martin Reims managed to win 157 caps as a player? That's a record for a European, and we're sure he's immensely proud of it. He is also quite a clever clogs, having earned a degree in Material Technology before going into coaching. We won't pretend to know what that is.

Five minutes from kickoff lads and lasses. Here come both sets of players.

Estonia's national anthem isn't the best, and all of the fans look a bit miserable singing it. It's a warm night in Tallinn, no rain, so they can't blame the weather.

John Beaton, from Motherwell, is our referee tonight. He's got Old Firm experience so if any Belgium or Estonia lads act the you know what he'll put them straight.

Kickoff: We're underway at the A. Le Coq arena as Estonia, playing from right to left, kick us off. Let's go.

Belgium, as you might expect, are bossing this in terms of possession. Estonia manage to get possession, but goalkeeper Mikhail Aksalu thumps the ball straight out of play, as if one of his team-mates were injured.

First sign of danger from Belgium as Alderweireld whips a fine ball in to the far post but nobody is on hand to poke home. Just now, Nacer Chadli of West Brom heads over from a Kevin De Bruyne cross. He might've done better there you know. If it was Lukaku then it's 1-0.

Now why would you do that? Estonia have a corner, probably their last of the match. They take a short one and, inevitably, they never end up getting the cross in. All of the big men came up from the back with the dream of opening the scoring, and Karol Mets ruins it.

Estonia have reached the 10-minute mark without conceding. The good news is that there is only nine more of these 10-minute segments. The bad news is that there's nine more of these 10-minute segments. So far it's pretty even though. They're 98th in the world, 91 places below Belgium.

Close! This isn't far away at all. Chadli showcases some excellent footwork to get away from Sergei Zenjov, before taking aim from outside the box but his left-footed thump whistles just wide. That's what they're capable of, these Belgians. It only takes one moment of brilliance and we nearly had it from Chadli.

It's all Belgium. Chadli has been heavily involved so far, as the ex-Spurs man tries to play in Lukaku but his over-the-top ball is too heavy and Aksalu comfortably gathers.

Zenjov, Estonia's number 10, risks a booking here after going in late on Axel Witsel, who gets up straight away. Zenjov looks up for it.

Shot! Really good defending from Liverpool man Klavan. Lukaku latched on to De Bruyne's over-the-top ball, experly controlling it with his chest before taking it down and going for goal, but Klavan pulls off the block and concedes a corner, which comes to nothing.

Belgium's Dries Mertens appeals to John Beaton for a penalty after claiming that his angled effort was handled by Nikita Baranov. It was more ball to hand than anything, but you can't blame Mertens for trying.

Belgium hearts were in their mouths there as Zenjov peeled away from Kompany to reach a wonderful teasing cross, but the number 10 isn't tall enough to reach and Belgium clear. It was Belgium up until that point, so a timely warning sign for Martinez and co.

Good defending from Teniste as the Estonian sticks tight to Carrasco, before conceding a corner. De Bruyne whips it in but Artur Pikk heads away. More good defending.

We're over halfway through the first half and Estonia, to their credit, have been very good. It's still very early days, of course, but the signs are very encouraging so far. They look resolute. Having said that, Belgium look like they're four or five gears off top gear. If they get better, and they will, then it's ominous.

Goal! Estonia 0-1 Belgium

Oh what a shame; not about the goal, but the manner of the goal. De Bruyne whips in a fine cross and what should be a routine catch by goalkeeper Aksalu, who inexplicably spills the beans and Mertens - who scored twice in the reverse match last Autumn - simply taps into an empty net. He has let his outfield team-mates down a bit, it must be said.

Shot! Alderweireld gets a bit carried away and fires the ball outside the stadium with a wild effort.

Good clearance by Fellaini as the Manchester United man thrashes away an Estonia corner. They actually swung it in the box this time. That's their second corner. It's probably their best chance of scoring tonight, through a corner that is.

Seven minutes to go until half time and Martinez will want a second. It isn't exactly urgent, given that Belgium are in full control and Estonia haven't had a shot, but it would be nice.

The fizz has gone out of this a little bit, like a can of Coke flatter than a desk, and it seems like both teams are just waiting for the break.

Chance! Good grief. Let's hope Antonio Conte isn't watching. Lord knows where Estonia's defence is, but Lukaku doesn't care as he races through one-on-one with Aksalu, who denies the Everton man - who scored 25 Premier League goals last season - and Estonia survive. Bit of redemption there, following his howler for the goal.

Red card! Oh jesus that's a bad challenge by Artjom Dmitrijev, who launches a studs-up lunge on Marouane Fellaini who, thankfully, is unhurt. Brainless. Just brainless.

Half time: Estonia 0-1 Belgium

An eventful first half draws to a close in Tallin as Belgium lead 10-man Estonia 1-0, courtesy of Dries Mertens' opener. Miracles happen in football and although the hosts were already huge underdogs at one goal down, now it's a mountainous task after Artjom Dmitrijev saw red for a studs-up challenge on Fellaini. Belgium won the reverse encounter 8-1 in Brussels. They have a big job to equal or better that goal tally, but you have to imagine that Estonia heads will drop significantly in the second half.

Restart! And we're back ladies and gentleman. Belgium, playing from right to left, kick us off now. It could be a long 45 minutes for Estonia. They were being bossed around the park when it was 11 v 11, but now it's 10 v 11 and the Red Devils wil look to capitalise.

Shot! Kevin De Bruyne floats a beautiful free kick into the box as Estonia clear, but the ball only reaches as far as Chadli who volleys narrowly over the bar. It would've been Van Basten-esque and probably the goal of the qualifying phase. Well, I haven't every goal, but this would've taken some beating.

Estonia have 11 players behind the ball, which is a shame. You'd think they just go for it. Easier said than done I'm sure, but they have nothing to lose really.

Save! Jan Vertonghen lets fly from about 25 yards but Aksalu beats it away for a corner. From that, Aksalu pulls off another tidy sace, keeping out Mertens' slick volley from close range. The Estonia stopper was at fault for the opening goal, and winning goal as it stands, but he's been superb since then.

I'm going to be brave and say Belgium don't look like scoring really. They have only had one clear-cut chance since the goal, with Aksalu denying Lukaku in a one-on-one, but it's a very flat display by the visitors. As we said before, they have a few more gears which they can go to if needed, but it's all a bit, well, poor so far.

I'm not sure Estonia have touched the ball outside their own half in the second period yet, which is understandable, but it illustrates that it's simply one-way traffic in Tallinn. Problem is, Belgium aren't going anywhere.

Chadli has been Belgium's best player by a country mile. Out wide, the ex-Spurs man nutmegs his marker and bears down on goal from an angle, before squaring to the unmarked Lukaku but an Estonian defender is back in the nick of time to avert the danger. Still, well done Chadli.

It's only 1-0, but it's 17-0 in terms of attempts. Only one of those was a clear chance, with Lukaku bottling it in a one-on-one.

Chance! Belgium warming up. Alderweireld, the centre-back, goes on a marauding run into Estonia's box before standing the ball up for Witsel, whose close-range volley is deflected behind for a corner.

Saves! Uksalu continues to atone for his first-half blooper; first by producing a very strong wrist to keep out Fellaini's volley from the edge of the area, before parrying Carrasco's placed effort. He's the best player on this pitch at the moment. And yet sadly, he is the reason why Estonia are behind.

Over! Fellaini gets that big barnet of his on the end of De Bruyne's corner, but it sails over.

Courtois watch! Courtois left the field of play and gone up to speak with his family in the stands. Okay not really, but he literally could. Estonia haven't been anywhere near his goal in this second half.

What a save! Kevin De Bruyne looks like finding the top corner with a fine curling effort from outside the box, but the Belgian did not take into account that Aksalu binged on canned spinach before the restart and is now unbeatable. It's a brilliant save to match a brilliant all-round performance from the 32-year-old.

There's a brief stoppage due to an intruder on the pitch. Speaking of people who shouldn't be on the pitch, Lukaku is still on somehow. He's been truly horrendous tonight but Martinez hasn't called him ashore....yet.

Twelve minutes to go and Belgium should be ashamed of themselves. It's so poor from the Red Devils, who should be made walk back to Belgium from Estonia tonight.

Sub: Michy Batshuayi replaces Dries Mertens. Lord knows how Lukaku is still on, but he is.

Six minutes to go and this one just needs to be put out of its misery now. It's dire. Ab-so-lutely dire, but listen, the good news is that there's only six minutes left.

Goal! Estonia 0-2 Belgium (Nacer Chadli)

Chadli, easily Belgium's Man of the Match, picks up his first international goal since 2014, latching on to De Bruyne's through ball and drilling a low effort past the brilliant Aksalu.

Three minutes added on: Thankfully for me, you and Estonia, there's only three minutes to go.

Full time: Estonia 0-2 Belgium

That's that lads and lasses. Goals from Dries Mertens and Nacer Chadli did the damage as the Red Devils stay top of Group H.

Thanks for joining our live text commentary and we'll see you next time

Share this article now:
Eden Hazard is strangled by Perparim Hetemaj during the international friendly between Belgium and Finland on June 1, 2016
Read Next:
Eden Hazard suffers ankle injury
Latest Sports Video
Did you know...?
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free daily transfer newsletter! Sent twice a day during the transfer window.

rhs 2.0
Live scores banner
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!