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Belgium 6-1 Poland: Red Devils return to winning ways in Nations League

Belgium bounced back from their thumping by the Netherlands with an emphatic 6-1 Nations League win over Poland on Wednesday.

Roberto Martinez’s side suffered a resounding 4-1 defeat to the Oranje on Friday, but a much-improved display at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels saw them return to winning ways in Group A4.

They fell behind to Robert Lewandowski’s 28th-minute strike, yet pulled level before half-time thanks to Axel Witsel’s superb effort from outside the penalty area.

Kevin De Bruyne then put them ahead after the interval, before a double from substitute Leandro Trossard, a long-range strike from Leander Dendoncker and a late sixth from Lois Openda put the seal on a convincing win.

Despite a bright start, Belgium fell behind shortly before the half-hour mark when Lewandowski controlled Sebastian Szymanski’s pass before clipping past the onrushing Simon Mignolet.

However, the Red Devils pulled level three minutes before the interval, Witsel superbly whipping in from 20 yards after Bartlomiej Dragowski had kept out De Bruyne’s close-range effort.

Dragowski made an excellent double stop after the break, first pawing away Dendoncker’s header and then getting down well to repel Eden Hazard’s drive. 

He was powerless to stop De Bruyne in the 59th minute, though, as the Manchester City man rolled past him after being played in by Hazard. 

Trossard made it three with a cool finish after cutting in from the right, before the Brighton and Hove Albion forward added a second with a looping strike from the edge of the penalty area. 

Dendoncker added a fifth with a sublime strike from 25 yards that flashed past Dragowksi, before substitute Openda wrapped up the scoring with almost the last kick of the game.

What does it mean? Red Devils roar back after big loss

Martinez wanted a reaction from his side after their home humbling against the Dutch and he most certainly got one.

The Red Devils were ruthless in attack, scoring with six of their 11 shots on target, to move up to second in Group A4, three points behind leaders the Netherlands.

Happy Hazard

He has endured another difficult season with Real Madrid, but a seemingly carefree Hazard was at his very best here. 

The 31-year-old laid on De Bruyne’s goal with an incisive pass, while he also took three shots – a tally not bettered by anyone on the pitch.

Batshuayi does not join the party

Despite Belgium’s dominance, central striker Michy Batshuayi managed just two shots during his 85 minutes on the pitch – neither of which were on target. 

His replacement, Openda, needed just one to add his name to the scoresheet in the third minute of added time.

What’s next?

Both sides are in Group A4 action again on Saturday, with Belgium visiting Wales and Poland travelling to face the Netherlands.

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