Belgium draws with Ivory Coast 2-2 in WCup warm-up

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm •  Published: March 5, 2014
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BRUSSELS (AP) — Max Gradel capped an unlikely comeback for Ivory Coast against Belgium with a goal in the second minute of injury time to force a 2-2 draw Wednesday in the warm-up game for both World Cup finalists.

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini and Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan turned early domination into a 2-0 lead for Belgium before a sell-out crowd of 40,000 at the King Baudouin Stadium.

Veteran Didier Drogba proved he can still weigh on any defense in the world with a late opportunistic goal, and Gradel stunned the crowd with his late equalizer.

"If you lead 2-0, you should never give this away," Napoli forward Dries Mertens said.

Both teams left their top star on the bench at the start, with Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Drogba limiting themselves to late appearances.

Belgium, increasingly favored to go far in the finals, long underscored its potential with a staunch defense led by Vincent Kompany before the stunning collapse in the final stretch. For Ivory Coast, a standout performance of Gervinho stood out.

After dominating from the outset, Belgium took the lead in the 18th minute on a set piece made for the power of Fellaini. Mertens curled a corner into the box and the midfielder made space for himself to easily beat out-of-position Sayouba Mande.

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