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Belgium get the better of Azerbaijan

Belgium 4-1 Azerbaijan
Francky Dury's charges got their first points on the board in Group 8 but were made to work for their win despite taking an early lead.

Gianni Bruno of Belgium heads in the opening goal
Gianni Bruno of Belgium heads in the opening goal ©info@yenihaber.be

Belgium have their first points on the board in 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 8 after seeing off Azerbaijan in Antwerp.

Beaten 2-1 by Iceland in their opening encounter, the hosts bounced back to earn revenge for their senior side, whose 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan on Friday left a severe dent in their UEFA EURO 2012 qualification prospects. Gianni Bruno got Belgium up and running in the second minute, but they needed Grégory Mertens to put them back in front after Cavid Imamverdiyev had responded for the visitors. A pair of second-half goals then sealed the result for Francky Dury's charges.

Belgium could have been forgiven for thinking they would have everything their own way when Bruno headed in Arnor Angeli's cross, yet they were left with work to do when Imamverdiyev pounced to score after Colin Coosemans could only parry Tarlan Quliyev's attempt from distance. Indeed, Jihan Ozkara missed the target from close range just moments later, and even after Mertens had nodded in another Angeli centre, Imamverdiyev hit the post for the visitors close to half-time.

Araz Abdullayev also struck the woodwork with 17 minutes remaining, but Azerbaijan were left ruing those misses when Thomas Meunier dribbled into the area and drove in a superb shot nine minutes from time. Before their opponents could conjure a response, Christian Benteke made the game safe for Belgium, who will pursue a repeat success when the teams meet again in Baku on 10 October.