Eden Hazard secured a 3-1 win for Belgium against Russia, while Memphis Depay scored two and got a pair of assists as Netherlands beat Belarus 4-0 in their respective Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Belgium vs Russia
Belgium opened their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win over Russia despite a huge mistake from Thibaut Courtois.
Quarter-finalists in France four years ago and semi-finalists at the 2018 World Cup, Belgium took the lead after 14 minutes through Youri Tielemans’ powerful, low finish.
However, Courtois gifted Denis Cheryshev an equaliser soon after, with his blushes spared as former Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard’s penalty on the stroke of half-time restored their advantage.
Hazard doubled his tally in the 88th minute to settle the Group I contest in Belgium’s favour before Aleksandr Golovin was sent off for a second yellow card.
However, just under two minutes later Russia levelled in bizarre fashion as Courtois’ disappointing season continued. The Real Madrid goalkeeper received Jan Vertonghen’s backpass under no pressure but took too many touches and, being closed down by Artem Dzyuba, played the ball straight to Cheryshev, the Valencia winger making no mistake in skipping over Courtois and converting from a tight angle.
Batshuayi saw an effort cleared off the line as Belgium sought to restore their advantage, which Hazard did with a confident finish from the penalty spot after he was clumsily brought down by Yuri Zhirkov.
The left-hand post denied Batshuayi a deserved goal 12 minutes from time but he was involved as Hazard made it 3-1, teeing up his team-mate to fire in following Dries Mertens’ right-wing cross.
Golovin’s dismissal came two minutes later, as he ended a poor night with a second yellow after kicking out at Mertens.
Netherlands vs Belarus
Netherlands began their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a resounding 4-0 win over Belarus in Rotterdam on Thursday, with Memphis Depay playing a crucial role.
The hosts were always firm favourites and they had little difficulty living up to the expectations, as Depay led the way with two goals and a pair of assists to give Netherlands a fine start to life in Group C.
Belarus looked doomed inside the first minute when Depay punished a defensive error to become the youngest player to reach 14 Netherlands goals since Patrick Kluivert, and he went on to set up Georginio Wijnaldum for their second in the 21st minute.
In other Euro 2020 qualifier results:
Kazakhstan 3-0 Scotland
Cyprus 5-0 San Marino
Austria 0-1 Poland
Croatia 2-1 Azerbaijan
Israel 1-1 Slovenia
Macedonia 3-1 Latvia
Northern Ireland 2-0 Estonia
Slovakia 2-0 Hungry
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