Belgium recovers from Courtois error to beat Russia 3-1

Belgium's Eden Hazard shoots a penalty kick to score his sides second goal during the Euro 2020 Group I qualifying match between Belgium and Russia at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels on Thursday March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Belgium has recovered from a blunder by Thibaut Courtois to beat Russia 3-1 on two Eden Hazard goals and start its European Championship qualifying campaign on a high

BRUSSELS — Eden Hazard scored twice as Belgium recovered from a blunder by Thibaut Courtois to beat Russia 3-1 Thursday and start its European Championship qualifying campaign on a high.

The World Cup semifinalist took the lead in the 14th minute thanks to Youri Tielemans' low strike from the edge of the area, but Courtois allowed Russia to level two minutes later.

The Real Madrid goalkeeper was caught in possession by Russia forward Artyom Dzyuba and hastily passed the ball straight to Denis Cheryshev, who rounded Courtois and scored.

Belgium's pace and creativity strained the Russian defense and was rewarded when Hazard burst into the penalty area and was tripped by Yuri Zhirkov's trailing leg. Hazard hit the resulting 45th-minute spot kick hard and low to give Russia's Brazil-born goalkeeper Guilherme no chance.

As Russia pushed forward late on, Belgium took advantage of space at the back and Michy Batshuayi hit the post in the 79th. Hazard made it 3-1 from close range in the 88th. Belgium has won six of eight games since the loss to France in the World Cup semifinals.

Russia finished with 10 men when Monaco midfielder Alexander Golovin received a second yellow card for kicking out at an opponent.

Earlier, Scotland's hopes of returning to major-tournament football after a 22-year absence suffered a blow with a 3-0 loss to Kazakhstan.

The Kazakhs scored twice in the opening 10 minutes and added another goal in the 51st minute.

Scotland — one of the 12 co-hosts for next year's tournament — had been eyeing further success after earning promotion in the Nations League last year and had lost just one of its last 10 competitive games.

It was only Kazakhstan's fifth win in 35 European qualifying games since it joined UEFA in 2002.

Cyprus strolled to a routine 5-0 win over San Marino in the day's other game.


More AP soccer: and

You may also like these

'The Game of the Century': Boca Juniors vs. River...

Nov 8, 2018

"The Game of the Century": Boca Juniors to face River Plate in the Copa Libertadores final

Boca Juniors not renewing contract of coach...

Dec 14, 2018

Boca Juniors will not renew its contract with coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto after losing to...

Diego Maradona's lawyer says ex-star fathered 3...

Mar 8, 2019

Diego Maradona's lawyer says that the former soccer star and current coach of Mexican club Dorados...

South American coalition relaunches bid for 2030...

Mar 20, 2019

A South American coalition hoping to host the 2030 World Cup relaunched their bid on Wednesday with...

England coach Bayliss dismisses ball-tampering...

Dec 29, 2017

England cricket coach Trevor Bayliss has dismissed as a "beat-up" any suggestions his team had...

Sign up now!