Belgium defeats Serbia with ease

Serbia's Aleksandar Kolarov (L) vies with Belgium's Christian Benteke
Serbia's Aleksandar Kolarov vies with Belgium's Christian Benteke on Friday.
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Belgium underlined their reputation as an emerging force on the European stage with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Serbia in Friday night's World Cup qualifier in Belgrade.

Christian Benteke opened the scoring for Marc Wilmots' men in the first half before efforts by Kevin De Bruyne and Kevin Mirallas after the break saw the talented Belgians make it two wins and a draw from their opening three Group A outings.

Defeat for Serbia is their first of the campaign and they remain on four points.

The hosts started well enough with Dusan Tadic's effort forcing a good save from Thibaut Courtois in the seventh minute.

Belgium threatened in the 17th minute when Benteke unleashed an effort from the right side of the area but Zeljko Brkic parried to safety.

Serbia went close a second time in the 32nd minute when Milan Bisevac volleyed over from Zoran Tosic's corner, but just two minutes later the visitors had the opener, De Bruyne swinging a cross over from the right that Aston Villa striker Benteke nodded home from six yards.

Benteke flashed another header over the bar in the 64th minute from Mousa Dembele's centre, but the second goal duly arrived four minutes later, Dembele's assist this time paying dividends as De Bruyne collected the Tottenham midfielder's cross before firing home.

Courtois saved twice in the space of a minute from Tadic and Marko Scepovic as Serbia pushed to set up a grandstand finish, but the hosts just could not make the breakthrough and Belgium wrapped up the points in the first minute of stoppage time when Dries Mertens crossed for Mirallas to turn the ball home from six yards.

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