Two late goals from Dmitri Rekish helped Belarus recover from 3-1 down to earn a draw with Group 10 leaders Austria, a result which jeopardises the latter's hopes of qualifying for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs.
Leading at the break thanks to Atdhe Nuhiu, Marko Arnautovic and Alexander Grünwald, Austria looked to be cruising to victory and a three-point lead over second-placed Scotland. Rekish, however, squeezed the ball in from a tight angle with a quarter of an hour remaining and then completed the comeback in added time with a free-kick from the edge of the area, Mikhail Sivakov having scored their first on 31 minutes.
That means Andreas Herzog's team will be replaced at the summit if Scotland or third-placed Belarus triumph in their meeting on 3 September, four days before the top two meet in their final qualifier in Aberdeen. Such a scenario looked highly unlikely during a first half which Austria controlled, taking the lead on 29 minutes when Nuhiu turned in Arnautovic's free-kick from the left.
Although Belarus equalised two minutes later through Sivakov's 20-metre effort into the top corner, Austria quickly regained the lead via Arnautovic's 35th-minute spot kick after Nuhiu was fouled by Sergei Politevich. Grünwald seemingly put Austria on course for three points on the cusp of half-time when his corner somehow found its way past goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor. Rekish, though, had other ideas, leaving Herzog stunned and disappointed by his side's sudden capitulation.
"I have no explanation why my team allowed Belarus that many chances in the last 15 or 20 minutes, and why we lost concentration," he said. "It's hard for us now if we want to finish first in our group but we will try to do it in Scotland."