Lucky goal sends Belgium top of qualifying group

9 Sep 2023

[1/5]Soccer Football - Euro 2024 Qualifier - Group F - Azerbaijan v Belgium - Dalga Arena, Baku, Azerbaijan - September 9, 2023 Belgium's Jeremy Doku is shown a yellow card by referee Nenad Minakovic REUTERS/Aziz Karimov Acquire Licensing Rights

BAKU, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Yannick Carrasco scored a fortuitous goal as injury-hit Belgium won 1-0 in Azerbaijan on Saturday and went top of European Championship qualifying Group F, overcoming a poor pitch and soaring temperatures to register the victory.

The Belgians moved above Austria on goal difference with 10 points from four matches.

Belgium looked to go on the attack from the start with Leandro Trossard hitting the post after a neat pass from Romelu Lukaku, playing despite only 20 minutes of club football this season, but ended up with few opportunities in a listless first- half performance.

They did, however, make the breakthrough in the 38th minute with a lucky goal as Johan Bakayoko’s long-range shot struck the unaware Carrasco, forcing the ball to change direction and flummox the home goalkeeper.

Belgium, without first-choice keeper Thibaut Courtois and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne because of long-term injuries, showed late resolve after making changes with Manchester City’s new signing Jeremy Doku going close to adding a second.

Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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