Bosnia 3-4 Belgium: Jan Vertonghen and Michy Batshuayi on target as Marouane Fellaini hobbles off
Last Updated: 07/10/17 10:57pm
Belgium kept their unbeaten World Cup qualifying record intact after they took the lead and then came from behind in a 4-3 win at Bosnia on Saturday which dented the Balkan nation's hopes of reaching next year's finals.
Michy Batshuayi and Jan Vertonghen were both on target for the Red Devils, though Marouane Fellaini did hobble off injured in the first half.
The outcome also sent Italy through to the play-offs as one of the eight best runners-up.
The result left the Belgians, who had already qualified for Russia as winners of Group H, with 25 points from nine games, 11 ahead of Bosnia who drop to third and now have only a slim chance of clinching a play-off berth.
Greece climbed into second place with a 2-1 against Cyprus in Nicosia thanks to goals from Kostas Mitroglou and Alexandros Tziolis, which still leaves them sweating on results elsewhere in Europe before their play-off place is confirmed.
Wing-back Thomas Meunier fired Belgium ahead in the fourth minute with his fifth goal in six games, sweeping in a fine cut-back by Eden Hazard on a muddy pitch at Grbavica stadium.
The Bosnians piled on the pressure after falling behind and hit back through midfielder Haris Medunjanin and winger Edin Visca to turn the tables before half-time.
And moments after Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini hobbled off for Belgium, Medunjanin equalised on the half-hour with a close-range finish after he was set up Edin Dzeko and Visca rifled in a fierce shot from 14 metres nine minutes later after a calamitous error by Belgium defender Jan Verthongen.
Striker Batshuayi equalised from three metres after Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic could only parry a sizzling low shot by Yannick Carrasco on the hour before Verthongen made amends for his mistake with a simple finish.
The centre-back volleyed home at the far post after a corner was driven into his path by Carrasco, silencing the passionate home crowd on a rainy night.
Defender Dario Djumic rekindled Bosnia's hopes with a thumping 82nd-minute header, only for Carrasco to score less than a minute later, when he took advantage of sloppy defending to steer the ball past Begovic.
Bosnia must beat Estonia away in their final game on Tuesday and hope that other results go their way in order to keep alive any hopes of progressing.
Europe's nine group winners qualify automatically for the World Cup while the eight best runners-up enter a two-leg play-off for the remaining four berths.