Brussels, Sep 9 (AP):
Striker Michy Batshuayi scored twice and teenager Jeremy Doku marked his first international start with a goal as Belgium beat Iceland 5-1 to claim a second consecutive win in the Nations League.
Despite the absence of several key players, including Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard, the hosts quickly recovered from going one goal down and monopolized the ball in the second half.
On the day he was voted English football’s player of the year, Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne provided two assists at an empty King Baudouin stadium. The match was played without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The hosts trailed for only two minutes after Holmbert Fridjonsson put Iceland ahead in the 11th. After Axel Witsel’s equalizer, Belgium took the lead in the 17th through Batshuayi, who slotted the ball home from the rebound.
Dries Mertens added his name to the score sheet with a clean finish five minutes into the second half after being set up by De Bruyne. Batshuayi made it 4-1 with a back-heel flick and Doku completed the rout 10 minutes from time.
The 18-year-old Anderlecht forward collected a pass from De Bruyne, cut inside the box on the left and unleashed a powerful strike into the top corner at the far post.
“I’m still shocked to be playing with such good players,” Doku said.
“I’m very happy with my performance.”
Belgium won 2-0 at Denmark in their Nations League A Group 2 opener last weekend.