With a number of injuries the national team coach Robereto Martinez made a several changes to the starting line-up. Celtic’s Dedryck Boyota was brought into defence and Timothy Castagne and Thorgan Hazard were brought in as wingers. Dendoncker and Tielemans formed a duo in midfield and Batshuayi was Martinez’s choice as striker.
Somewhat surprisingly Russia started off on the offensive. At the other end Batshuayi kept the Russian defence on its toes.
Belgium was clear missing De Bruyne. However, although the Belgians were at times lackluster, the Russian looked shaky every time they gained pace. It came as no surprise that Belgium took the lead after having out-run the Russians. Castagne enable Tielemans to score from the edge of the box. It was his ever goal for his country on 14 minutes.
Courtois blunders, Hazard scores
Belgium’s joy was short-lived though as a blunder by the national team keeper Thibaut Courtois left the way open for Tsjerisjev to equalize just 2 minutes later.
The Belgians had a lot of possession but posed little threat in front of goal. Meanwhile, the Russian defence set up a ring of steel around their goal.
It was only when the Belgians picked up pace on the counter that they posed any danger in front of goal. A missed scoring opportunity from Batshuayi was a classic example of this.
However, it proved to be a taste of things to come. Just a couple minutes later Eden Hazard scored from the penalty spot after having been brought down inside the area. The half ended 2-1 to Belgium.
The second half produced more of the same with Belgium looking dangerous on the counter. However, it wasn’t until the 88th minute that the Red Devils were able to widen the score to 3-1. Man of the match Eden Hazard did the honours and victory was certain. The Red devil will now travel to Cyprus for their second qualifying game against the Cypriot national team on Sunday.