Belgium came from behind to defeat Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-1 in their Euro 2016 Group B qualifier at the King Baudouin Stadium and edge closer to booking their place in next year’s showpiece in France.
First-half goals from Marouane Fellaini and Kevin De Bruyne – fresh from his big-money move to Manchester City – cancelled out Edin Dzeko’s earlier opener, with Eden Hazard adding a third from the penalty spot late on.
After providing the assist for Fellaini’s leveller, De Bruyne ensured Belgium took a half-time lead with a dipping long-range strike.
Dzeko’s superb header – his sixth goal in five games for Mehmed Bazdarevic’s side – gave Bosnia-Herzegovina the lead after 15 minutes, but that was all that the visitors could create in the first half as they were stifled by Belgium.
Haris Medunjanin and Dzeko both went close to finding an equaliser after the restart, while Asmir Begovic had to be on top form at the other end to deny Romelu Lukaku.
But the victory was sealed for Belgium when Hazard was brought down in the area by Ognjen Vranjes, and the winger converted coolly past his Chelsea team-mate Begovic – keeping the pressure on group leaders Wales, who beat Cyprus 1-0.
Belgium, who remain three points behind Wales in second, were sluggish in possession early on, and were punished when the impressive Muhamed Besic stole in ahead of Fellaini and picked out Mensur Mujdza, the full-back’s dinked cross finding Dzeko, who headed into the top-right corner.
The hosts did not have to wait long to equalise, however, as Fellaini shirked off his marker to nod home powerfully from De Bruyne’s pin-point corner.
Marc Wilmots’ men had found their rhythm, and would have gone ahead had Lukaku directed his near-post header on target, but the Everton forward could only find the side-netting.
And Belgium edged ahead on the stroke of half-time when De Bruyne showed his quality – collecting the ball on the edge of the area before unleashing a low shot that nestled into the right-corner.
Bosnia finally forced Thibaut Courtois into action just prior to the hour mark, the Chelsea stopper doing well to parry away Medunjanin’s rasping volley.
Medunjanin was at the heart of his side’s next attack – robbing Vincent Kompany of possession in midfield and playing in Dzeko – but the forward’s goal-bound strike was deflected wide.
Belgium almost extended their lead with just under 20 minutes remaining, Begovic doing well to save from Lukaku, who had been played in by De Bruyne.
However, the result was put beyond all doubt in the 77th minute, Hazard dispatching his penalty calmly into the bottom-left corner after he had been fouled by Vranjes.
Courtois pulled off another instinctive save to prevent Dzeko late on, but Belgium held firm to move onto 14 points and one step closer to automatic qualification.
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