Euro 2020 qualifiers: Belgium overcome Thibaut Courtois howler to sink Russia

Captain Eden Hazard scored twice for Belgium to avoid the thunderbolts of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and secure a 3-1 victory over Russia in their EURO 2020 Group I qualification at King Baudouin Stadium Thursday.

Courtois gave a bad draw to Russia after his mistake gave a goal to Denis Cheryshev, but Belgium earned a deserved victory when Yuri Tielemans opened the scoring with his first international goal and Hazard added two more, one from the penalty spot.

Forward Michy Batshuayi was invited to lead the line in the absence of injured Romelu Lukaku, while Hazard brothers Eden and Thorgan played together for the third time wearing a national team jersey.

Belgium led in the 15th minute when Timothy Castagne's pass gave Tielemans the lead and, when the Russian defensive line opened, the midfielder shot Guilherme Marinato a low shot.

But the advantage lasted barely a minute, because a horror error Courtois allowed to equalize Cheryshev.

The goalkeeper remained in possession of the ball after a pass and, when forced to take action, he passed the ball directly to Cheryshev, at the edge of the area, which ended in a empty goal.

Batshuayi came close to the lead when the Hazard brothers took a break from a Russian corner and the ball fell into the hands of the local striker. His shot defeated Marinato but not defender Georgiy Dzhikiya on the goal line.

Belgium, last year's World Cup semi-finalist, scored its second place just before the break, when Yuri Zhirkov made a mistake on Eden Hazard and decided to convert the shot and give his team a advantage of 2-1 at half time.

Batshuayi should have added a third for the home team when he stayed unbranded and converted a low center in eight meters.

Skipper Hazard scored the third goal when he recovered the ball into the box after Batshuayi's shot was blocked and the visitors finished with 10 points after a late red card for Aleksandr Golovin.

Previously, Cyprus had reached the top of the Group I standings with a 5-0 win over San Marino in Nicosia.

Striker Pieros Sotiriou converted two penalties with goals from Ioannis Kousoulos, Georgios Efrem and Konstantinos Laifis.

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