Romelu Lukaku prolonged his spectacular scoring report with Belgium to salvage a 1-1 draw towards Czech Republic of their World Cup qualifier on Saturday as FIFA’s top-ranked crew was fortunate to escape with some extent.
Facing an impressed Czech crew which hit the woodwork twice, Belgium struggled defensively and conceded early within the second half. Lukaku, Belgium’s all-time main scorer, then took his tally to 59 objectives in 91 worldwide matches after Kevin De Bruyne’s sensible help.
Both Belgium and Czech Republic had received their opening video games in Group E.
Playing with out Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Meunier and Thorgan Hazard — who weren’t licensed to make the journey to Prague due to German quarantine guidelines — Belgium dominated possession in an entertaining first half however the hosts had the higher probabilities.
The Czechs missed 4 Bundesliga gamers due to the virus restrictions in Germany, together with their first-choice goalkeeper, nevertheless it didn’t present.
Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was compelled into a primary save within the 14th minute and ahead Michael Krmencík got here shut a couple of minutes later as he minimize inside previous Jason Denayer and drove a exact left-footed shot solely to discover the woodwork. The guests responded with a positive effort from Leander Dendoncker which was denied by Tomas Vaclík with a one-handed save.
The hosts deservedly took the lead within the fiftieth minute when Lukas Provod was given an excessive amount of area close to the world — with Dendoncker and Denayer each too gradual to transfer ahead — and he unleashed a long-range strike into the far nook.
Belgium was handed one other blow quickly after when Dries Mertens left the sphere injured. But the guests got here again into the sport following an impressed contribution from De Bruyne. Close to the midway line, the Manchester City playmaker despatched an extended ball between two Czech gamers to discover Lukaku close to the field. The Inter striker evaded his marker and located the web with a left-footed shot between Vaclik’s legs.
De Bruyne then missed the prospect to give Belgium the lead when he hit the fitting submit. The hosts continued to push till the very finish and had two large probabilities earlier than the ultimate whistle — first with an effort from Jan Boril that completed on the crossbar after which a goal-bound header from Tomas Soucek which was thwarted by defender Toby Alderweireld.
Earlier, Belarus twice got here from behind to kick off its World Cup qualification marketing campaign with a 4-2 win over 10-man Estonia, which slumped to a second consecutive loss following a 6-2 rout by the hands of the Czechs midweek.