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    David Silva brace powers Spain to victory over Belgium in winning start for new coach

    Sep 2, 2016
    Diego Costa battles through a tackle from a Belgian defender. AP

    BRUSSELS — David Silva scored in each half as Spain comfortably outclassed Belgium to beat Europe's top-ranked team 2-0 in a friendly on Thursday (Friday, Manila time).

    Silva fired a low shot under Thibaut Courtois, and doubled Spain's lead from the penalty spot after Jordan Lukaku needlessly brought down Victor "Vitolo" Machin to take his international tally to 26 goals in 104 matches.

    It was a winning start for new coach Julen Lopetegui, who replaced Vicente del Bosque last month after Spain was eliminated in the round of 16 of Euro 2016.

    Belgium's new coach, Spaniard Roberto Martinez, was left realizing he has plenty of work to do to mold his talent-packed squad into a team capable of living up to its potential. His lackluster team was booed off the pitch at the end of the match at King Baudouin Stadium after managing only one serious effort on goal, an 83rd-minute effort by Kevin de Bruyne that David de Gea tipped over the bar.

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    "It was a difficult match for us," Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen said. "In possession, they are the best team in the world."

    While Silva sparkled for Spain, fellow midfielder De Bruyne failed to make an impression for the Red Devils beyond the late effort saved by De Gea.

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    Martinez gave Eden Hazard the captain's armband, but the in-form star also failed to make any headway against Spain's well-drilled defense and was forced to spend a lot of time helping out his own back line instead of setting up attacks.

    Belgium travels to Nicosia to take on Cyprus in World Cup qualifying Group H on Sept. 6. Spain hosts Liechtenstein on Monday in Group G.

    Alvaro Morata could be in doubt for Spain's next match after limping off in the first half holding his right thigh.

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    Diego Costa battles through a tackle from a Belgian defender. AP
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