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Belgium's Batshuayi does for Northern Ireland again

Northern Ireland 0-1 Belgium
Michy Batshuayi struck just before the interval in Lurgan, ensuring the qualifying Group 9 leaders made it four wins from four.  

Michy Batshuayi (left) got the winner in Northern Ireland
Michy Batshuayi (left) got the winner in Northern Ireland ©Getty Images

Michy Batshuayi proved Northern Ireland's nemesis for the second time in just over a month as Belgium registered their fourth victory in as many UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 9 games.

The R. Standard de Liège forward scored the only goal when the teams met in Louvain on 9 September and repeated the feat with a strike a minute before the break at Lurgan's Mourneview Park. While the Red Devils forge on at the top of the section, their opponents are still seeking their first points following this third defeat of the campaign.

"It's hard to take too many positives as we've not had a result, but Belgium are an extremely strong side," said Northern Ireland manager Stephen Robinson. "They're strong and technically very good. So in this instance, I thought the lads were reasonable. I still think they have a lot more in them, though, and could have shown more out there, at home."

After Batshuayi's opener, both sides threatened in the second half. Shay McCartan hit the woodwork, was narrowly off target with a long-range effort and tested Colin Coosemans with a speculative shot in added time, while Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco fired wide before the hour and Laurens De Bock was denied late on.