Football

We want to qualify as soon as possible: Hazard

Hazard helps Belgium beat Cyprus in Euro 2020 qualifier on his 100th cap

Eden Hazard marked his 100th cap with an early goal to set Belgium on their way to a comfortable 2-0 away win over Cyprus in their Euro 2020 qualifier yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Michy Batshuayi got the other goal for the top team in the Fifa rankings, who began their campaign last Friday with a 3-1 home success over Russia and now have six points from their opening two games in Group I, reported Reuters.

After the match, Hazard told Belgian broadcaster RTBF: "We had to start well... we were good during the first half hour and then we managed to control the match.

"This field was super dry, it was pretty hard to move the ball around.

"We did the job... Our goal is to qualify as soon as possible...

"I still hope to play a lot of games and score a few more goals."

Hazard's Chelsea teammate Andreas Christensen, meanwhile, dropped a hint that the Belgium star won't get his dream move to Real Madrid at the end of the season due to Fifa's ban on the Blues signing players for the next two transfer windows.

He told Danish publication Ekstra Bladet: "The messages we have received are that Chelsea cannot appeal the case and therefore want to keep all the players."

Hazard opened the scoring against Cyprus after 10 minutes with a curling shot after Batshuayi had set him up.

It was his 30th international goal as the 28-year-old became the third Belgian to reach the 100-cap mark after Jan Vertonghen and Axel Witsel.

Batshuayi doubled the score eight minutes later, running on to a pass over the top of the home defence from Thorgan Hazard, knocking it past the onrushing goalkeeper Urko Pardo and then sliding the ball into the empty net from a tight angle.

Belgium, without injured regulars Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Witsel, cruised through the rest of the contest to stretch to 12 games their unbeaten record against the Cypriots, who had beaten San Marino 5-0 at home on Friday in their opening qualifier.

Red Devils coach Roberto Martinez told Belgian broadcaster VTM: "This type of match is difficult if you don't start well.

"Certainly, because the pitch was very dry.

"Fortunately, we started well, with a lot of sharpness, and scored two early goals.

"After the break, we had control and we played very maturely.

"The six points out of six is the perfect reward for our hard work, but nothing has been decided yet."

Goalscorer Batshuayi added: "We are three points ahead of our rivals, and we are Belgium: We don't look behind us, we only look ahead."

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