Belgian comeback too much for Bosnians
Thursday, September 3, 2015
Belgium 3-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Belgium fought back to tighten their grip on second spot in Group B with strikes from Marouane Fellaini, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.
Article top media content
• Edin Džeko's headed opener cancelled out by Marouane Fellaini’s header from corner
• Kevin De Bruyne fires Belgium in front before half-time; Eden Hazard seals win from spot
• Bosnia and Herzegovina suffer first qualifying loss under Mehmed Baždarević
• Next games: Cyprus v Belgium, Bosnia and Herezgovina v Andorra (Sunday)
Belgium enhanced their prospects of automatic qualification from UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group B with a 3-1 come-from-behind victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Brussels.
In a match billed as Belgium's biggest since the FIFA World Cup, the capacity crowd were stunned as Edin Džeko converted Bosnia and Herzegovina's first chance on 15 minutes. Conceding spurred second-placed Belgium into action and goals from Marouane Fellaini, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard ensured Marc Wilmots's side could put their last qualifier, a loss to group leaders Wales, behind them.
Džeko had given his country the lead when these two teams drew 1-1 earlier in qualifying and did the same on the quarter-hour to the delight of a massive travelling contingent. Full-back Mensur Mujdža was allowed to advance unchallenged down the right and scooped up a cross which was expertly headed into the corner by the Bosnian captain from beyond the penalty spot.
Belgium exacted swift retribution as Fellaini equalised eight minutes later with an emphatic header from a De Bruyne corner. Fellaini, loping forward from his midfield role in the 4-3-3 system, was becoming increasingly influential. Meanwhile, Romelu Lukaku also threatened as the hosts played with greater urgency.
Belgium looked rejuvenated and grabbed the lead on the stroke of half-time as De Bruyne turned and shot beyond Asmir Begović after patient build-up play. In the second half Thibaut Courtois beat away an explosive Haris Medunjanin volley, before Hazard sealed the win with a confident penalty he had earned when fouled by Ognjen Vranješ. There was no way back for Mehmed Baždarević's team.