Roberto Martinez revealed Eden Hazard informed him he must “pay for a dinner party” following his red card in Belgium’s Nations League win over Wales.
The Red Devils kept their hopes of reaching the Nations League Finals alive with a 2-1 victory in Brussels; Kevin De Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi on target at King Baudouin Stadium.
Martinez was given his marching orders by referee Ali Palabiyik after preventing Wales from taking a quick throw-in deep into stoppage time as his side remained three points behind Group A4 leaders Netherlands, with Kieffer Moore’s goal proving to be in vain.
The Spaniard did not feel he should have been ordered from the touchline and says his dismissal will be costly.
“It may have been yellow, but never red,” he told VTM. “I was just trying to slow down the game a bit. The captain told me that in Belgium, you have to pay for a dinner party with a red card. I will do that.
“You did see different halves. Before half-time, we found the spaces well, with many chances and two goals. After that, we tried to look for the one-on-one less, and we let the ball move less quickly.
“I’m glad we played it so well after the [Wales] goal. We can learn a lot from this for the next games.”
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) September 22, 2022
Meanwhile, De Bruyne also took a swipe at officials following a penalty incident late on. Belgium were initially awarded a spot-kick after the Manchester City maestro was challenged by Rhys Norrington-Davies.
The decision was rightly overturned following consultation with the VAR, as the Wales defender clearly played the ball, but the referee subsequently pointed for a goal-kick rather than a corner.
Asked about Belgium’s penalty shout, De Bruyne told S4C: “I was already running to the corner. The rules are so stupid though; it should then be a corner.
“I think we fully deserved to win, we dominated the first half and created a lot of chances. Wales were playing man to man, so there were more options in the first half.
“Then we started the second half poorly. We have to keep the ball – as Wales were playing so deep – and wait for the right moments.”