Captain Eden Hazard scored twice for Belgium to save the blushes of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and secure a 3-1 triumph over Russia in their Euro 2020 Group I qualifier at the King Baudouin Stadium on Thursday.
Courtois permitted Russia a delicate equalizer after his mistake gifted a goal to Denis Cheryshev, however Belgium guaranteed a merited triumph when Youri Tielemans opened the scoring with his first international goal and Hazard included two progressively, one from the punishment spot.
Striker Michy Batshuayi was approached to lead the line without the harmed Romelu Lukaku, while the Hazard siblings, Eden and Thorgan, played together for the third time in a national group shirt.
Belgium drove on 15 minutes when Timothy Castagne’s pass sustained Tielemans on the edge of the box and as Russia’s cautious line opened up, the midfielder fired a low shot past goalkeeper Guilherme Marinato.
Yet, the lead kept going scarcely a minute as a horror error from Courtois talented Cheryshev the equalizer.
The keeper dallied in possession following a back-pass and when pressed into action, passed the ball directly to Cheryshev on the edge of the box who completed into an unfilled net.
Batshuayi verged on reestablishing the lead when the Hazard siblings drove a breakaway from a Russian corner and when the ball tumbled to the striker in the box, his shot beat Marinato however not protector Georgiy Dzhikiya on the goalline.
Belgium, World Cup semi-finalists a year ago, scored their second just before the break when Eden Hazard was fouled in the box by Yuri Zhirkov and ventured up to change over the spot-kick and give his side a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Batshuayi ought to have included a third for the home side when he was left unmarked and turned a low cross on to the post from eight yards out.
Skipper Hazard got the third when he got the free ball in the box after Batshuayi’s shot was blocked and the guests completed the diversion with 10 following a late red card for Aleksandr Golovin.
Prior, Cyprus raged to the highest point of the Group I standings with a 5-0 triumph over San Marino in Nicosia.
Striker Pieros Sotiriou changed over two punishments to run with goals from Ioannis Kousoulos, Georgios Efrem and Konstantinos Laifis.
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