Michy Batshuayi Scores in Belgium's UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying Win vs. Kazakhstan

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2019

Belgium's Michy Batshuayi celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Euro 2020 group I qualifying soccer match between Kazakhstan and Belgium at the Astana Arena stadium in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Belgium continued their perfect UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign away to Kazakhstan on Sunday, winning 2-0. 

Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring after 21 minutes, and Thomas Meunier doubled the lead early in the second half.

The Red Devils had already qualified for the tournament with a win over San Marino. Kazakhstan trail second-placed Russia by 11 points with two matches left on their schedule in Group I.

Per the team's official Twitter account, the run of eight straight wins is a new record for Belgium:

With their Euro 2020 tickets already booked, Belgium opted to play some of their fringe players against Kazakhstan, giving a full debut to Dennis Praet and inserting Batshuayi and Thomas Vermaelen into the starting XI.

The revised lineup and rain-soaked artificial pitch contributed to a sloppy first half that saw few chances and several altercations. Batshuayi, in particular, was involved in multiple incidents, getting booked after 11 minutes.

He also opened the scoring after 21 minutes, tapping the ball home from close range after a great pass from Praet. The Chelsea man was lucky not to receive a second booking for a bad foul shortly before half-time.

Kazakhstan didn't threaten much in the first half, apart from a wild shot from Sergiy Maliy that was always rising beyond the goal.

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Sports writer Owen Jones was not impressed with the quality of play:

The Red Devils needed a second goal after the break to feel a little safer and found it early, with Eden Hazard picking out Meunier with a phenomenal long ball. The Paris Saint-Germain full-back took a simple first touch before blasting the ball beyond goalkeeper Dmytro Nepohodov.

Goal credited Hazard for his fantastic pass:

The second goal settled Belgium's nerves a bit, and both Thorgan Hazard and Dries Mertens narrowly missed chances to add to the lead shortly after.

Belgium continued to push the pace, but the aim of both Hazard and Batshuayi was off after impressive passing moves. Aibol Abiken tried his luck from distance but fired high, and Bauyrzhan Islamkhan couldn't beat Thibaut Courtois with a free-kick.

The Red Devils' win streak never came under threat in Kazakhstan, with the hosts seemingly more focused on battling the visitors than scoring late. Both Abiken and Abzal Beysebekov ran into bookings for bad fouls before the final whistle blew.

   

What's Next?

The final international break of the year takes place in November. Belgium will close out their qualifying campaign against Russia and Cyprus, while Kazakhstan face San Marino and Scotland.

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