Hazards flay Cyprus

by

October 11, 2017
Belgium's Thorgan Hazard and Cyprus' Konstantinos Laifis, left, challenge for the ball during their World Cup 2018 Group H qualifying at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, yesterday.

ATHENS, Greece (AP):

Eden Hazard fired Belgium to their fifth straight World Cup qualifying victory, scoring twice for a 4-0 win in Cyprus yesterday, while Greece also beat Gibraltar 4-0 to edge Bosnia and Herzegovina for a place in the play-offs.

Hazard raised Belgium's goal tally further, opening the scoring in the 12th minute after teammate Youri Tielemans poached the ball off defenders.

It was a night for the Chelsea star's family to shine. He scored a penalty in the second half, and brother Thorgan also found the net, celebrating his first goal for Belgium when he was able to tap in a rebound.

Belgium were chasing the European record of 43 for most goals in a qualifying competition, either for a World Cup or European Championship, which Germany had just set in their qualifying group.

In the 78th minute Romelu Lukaku - returning from injury equalled the mark when he ran on to a long ball, shrugged off a hapless defender and scored with a low drive, his 11th goal in qualifying.

Captain Jan Vertonghen appeared in his 97th international to become the most-capped Belgian international, with previous record holder Jan Ceulemans applauding from the stands.

"It was a good game for us. We could have scored five or six, but the score isn't really that important," said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, who rested several key players before ending the 10-game qualification run with 28 out of the possible 30 points.

"We saw was a willingness to work hard and play well," he said.

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