Belgium opened their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win over Russia despite a huge mistake from Thibaut Courtois.
Quarter-finalists in France four years ago and semi-finalists at the 2018 World Cup, Belgium took the lead after 14 minutes through Youri Tielemans' powerful, low finish.
However, Courtois gifted Denis Cheryshev an equaliser soon after, with his blushes spared as former Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard's penalty on the stroke of half-time restored their advantage.
Hazard doubled his tally in the 88th minute to settle the Group I contest in Belgium's favour before Aleksandr Golovin was sent off for a second yellow card.
The counter-attacking football that was a distinct feature of Belgium's World Cup campaign proved key in opening the scoring as Michy Batshuayi crossed from the left for Timothy Castagne, who laid off for Tielemans to rifle into the bottom-left corner.
#Youngsters— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) March 21, 2019
Leander #Dendoncker 1995
Youri #Tielemans 1997
Leander, Timothy and Youri are our three youngest players on the field today! #BELRUS #EURO2020#COMEONBELGIUM#EuropeanQualifiers pic.twitter.com/jSxFmpHTHo
However, just under two minutes later Russia levelled in bizarre fashion as Courtois' disappointing season continued. The Real Madrid goalkeeper received Jan Vertonghen's backpass under no pressure but took too many touches and, being closed down by Artem Dzyuba, played the ball straight to Cheryshev, the Valencia winger making no mistake in skipping over Courtois and converting from a tight angle.
Batshuayi saw an effort cleared off the line as Belgium sought to restore their advantage, which Hazard did with a confident finish from the penalty spot after he was clumsily brought down by Yuri Zhirkov.
The left-hand post denied Batshuayi a deserved goal 12 minutes from time but he was involved as Hazard made it 3-1, teeing up his team-mate to fire in following Dries Mertens' right-wing cross.
Golovin's dismissal came two minutes later, as he ended a poor night with a second yellow after kicking out at Mertens.
What does it mean? No need for Belgium to sweat
The scoreline could have been even more comfortable had Belgium enjoyed a touch more fortune. They were not at their best but, against a Russia side that looked a far cry from the team that reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup last year, they did not need to be.
Hazard keeps his cool
It looked as if Russia may provide Belgium with a difficult evening after Courtois' mistake. The visitors were poised to go in to half-time level but Hazard had other plans, winning a penalty with a turn in the box that drew a panicky Zhirkov challenge and converting it with consummate ease. His finish for the third was just as assured and put the game beyond any doubt.
Courtois loses his
Dropped for Zinedine Zidane's return to the Madrid dugout last weekend, Courtois did not inspire confidence with his 16th-minute howler. For a keeper considered one of the best in the world, this was a startling loss of composure.
Belgium face Cyprus in Nicosia on Sunday, while Russia travel to face a Kazakhstan side buoyed by their surprise 3-0 win over Scotland.
25 de abril 2019
|LeBron disputes reported rift with Lakers front office|
|Copa Libertadores Review: River Plate advance, Boca Juniors held|
|Kovac unsure about contentious penalty decision|
|Kerr calls Lillard´s game-winner against Thunder a ´good shot´|
|Griezmann important for future at Atletico – Simeone|
|Russell ´definitely´ wants to stay with Nets|
|Fernandinho to have scan on knee injury|
|Top prospect Guerrero called up by Blue Jays|
|Solskjaer agrees with Keane that United need ´right characters´|
|Emery not blaming Leno for Wolves loss|
|Guardiola ´likes to be critical´ of Man City derby hero Sane|
|Kruse bemoans ´ridiculous´ penalty in DFB-Pokal semi-final|
|Lazio condemn ´simplistic´ reporting of alleged racist incidents|
|Solskjaer: United not good enough to match City|
|Keane takes aim at Fred for ´cheating´ in Man United´s derby defeat|
|Kompany: Still all to play for in Premier League title race|
24 de abril 2019
|Rashford: We did not play like Manchester United|
|Arsenal can still secure top-four spot - Emery|
|Guardiola and Man City break records in derby win at Old Trafford|
|Kvitova eases through in Stuttgart, Istanbul seeds tumble|
|Manchester United 0 Manchester City 2: Silva & Sane send visitors back to summit|
|AC Milan 0 Lazio 1 (agg 0-1): Correa winner earns Inzaghi´s men revenge|
|Werder Bremen 2 Bayern Munich 3: Lewandowski double sends Kovac´s men into final|
|Wolves 3 Arsenal 1: Stunning first-half display hurts Gunners´ top-four hopes|
|Ferrer to face Nadal in Barcelona as Fognini withdraws|
|United States earn ODI status for first time|
|Bordalas wary of ´awesome´ Benzema|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Valencia 2: Late Correa stunner seals win as Barca´s title party is delayed|
|Keane on Pogba: I wouldn´t believe a word he says|
|De Villiers, Stoinis inspire in-form RCB to another win|
|Gayle & Russell headline Windies World Cup squad|
|Former Barcelona chief Rosell acquitted of money laundering|
|United v City: Darmian and Pereira in as Solskjaer wields axe|
|Mourinho: Some players might think I´m a b******|
|Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe? Who is Europe´s most prolific young goalscorer?|
|Steelers sign Roethlisberger to two-year contract extension|
|Frank Lampard charged with misconduct by FA|
|Zidane: Bale sale not required to sign Hazard|
|Player sacked after missing Panenka in shoot-out loss|
|FA welcomes anti-racism manifesto backed by Sterling|
|Ravens make Tucker highest-paid kicker in NFL|
|Nadal fights back to halt Mayer in Barcelona|
|Springbok De Jager sold on three-year Sale deal|
|AFC Champions League Review: Holders Kashima Antlers suffer first defeat|
|Alaphilippe defends Fleche Wallonne title in tight finish|
|Cowboys pick up Ezekiel Elliott´s fifth-year option|
|Champions Cup final quintet nominated for European Player of the Year|
|NFL Draft 2019: How does Kyler Murray compare to QBs taken first overall?|
|Pukki, Sharp and Abraham top PFA Championship Team of the Year|
|Mourinho recharged by rest but not planning Premier League return|
|Pro14 set for brotherly battle as Jerry Sexton joins Southern Kings|
|Sometimes things I want don´t happen – Zidane cagey over futures of Navas, Courtois|
|Hamilton desperate to improve on Baku struggles|
|Chelsea winger Hudson-Odoi undergoes successful surgery|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton and Bottas seeking historic one-two - Azerbaijan GP in numbers|
|LaLiga is the primary goal – Zidane out to end Barca´s recent dominance next term|
|NRL Opta facts: Roosters hoping to address poor ANZAC Day record|
|Ulreich: Nubel should hold off on Bayern Munich move|
|Almiron a doubt for Copa America due to hamstring injury|
|I´m still a Manchester United fan - Blind hopeful of resurgence under Solskjaer|
|Golden Knights blast ´embarrassing´ penalty call in dramatic Sharks defeat|
|Rangnick lauds RB Leipzig´s unique rise|
|Turin to host ATP Finals from 2021 to 2025|
|Chelsea manager Sarri charged by FA|
|I was just waving goodbye to them - Lillard sends Thunder packing|
|Manchester United players will have no hiding place against City - Solskjaer|
|Ortiz will not replace Miller to fight Joshua|
|United v City: De Gea, Pogba and the Red Devils´ stars in need of a ´reality check´|
|United v City: Aguero ready to shine after Old Trafford absences|
|Ferguson convinced me to take up management – Milosevic´s road to Partizan|