Belgium 2 Scotland 0: Kompany rocket sends Levein hurtling towards the exit
21:04 GMT, 16 October 2012
A question mark hung over Craig Levein's future as Scotland manager as hopes of salvaging their World Cup qualifying campaign were shattered by a 2-0 defeat to Belgium.
The Scots headed into the match in Brussels sitting second bottom of Group A and still seeking a first win which was desperately needed to boost their slim hopes of reaching Brazil in 2014.
But second-half goals from Christian Benteke and Vincent Kompany just a minute apart meant the dramatic victory against one of the section favourites failed to materialise on another bitterly disappointing night for Scotland.
Roaring success: Belgium defender Vincent Kompany celebrates after scoring the second goal
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Kompany, Vertonghen, De Bruyne, Witsel, Chadli, Mertens (Mirallas 55), Dembele (Hazard 45), Benteke (M'Boyo 86).
Subs not used: Mignolet, Ciman, Van Buyten, Defour, Lombaerts, Vossen, Simons, Guillaume Gillet, Jean-Francois Gillet.
Goals: Benteke 69, Kompany 71
Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Berra, Caldwell, Fox, Maloney, Morrison (Phillips 79), Darren Fletcher, McArthur, Commons (Mackie 45), Steven Fletcher (Miller 76).
Subs not used: Gilks, Mulgrew, Cowie, Adam, Martin, Webster, Marshall.
Referee: Mauricio Morales (Mexico)
Click here for the latest World Cup Qualifying results, fixtures and table
Levein made one change from the side
who lost to Wales, with Wigan midfielder James McArthur drafted into the
starting line-up in place of Scott Brown.
The Celtic skipper was forced to
withdraw from the squad with an ongoing hip problem that forced him out
of Friday's clash in Cardiff at half-time.
Injury to Marouane Fellaini should
have been a boost for the Scots but they still faced a Belgian side
packed full of talent in the shape of players such as Kompany and Thomas
The home side were even in a position
to name Eden Hazard on the bench, confirming speculation he would not
start the game at the King Baudouin Stadium.
Belgium looked dangerous right from the first whistle and a Gary Caldwell error allowed Dries Mertens to burst into the box.
But goalkeeper Allan McGregor came to
the rescue and blocked superbly at both attempts by Mertens to deny the
home side the opener early on.
Fortunately for the Scots, McGregor
was on top form and he also saved well from Nacer Chadli at the near
post before diving bravely to the feet of the same player to snuff out
Deadlock broken: Christian Benteke (second left) celebrates with team-mate Kevin De Bruyne (right)
Head boy: Benteke (top right) rises highest to nod home past Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor
After a period of intense pressure
from the Belgians, a mis-hit shot from James Morrison caused more
problems than it should have for Thibaut Courtois.
The goalkeeper looked more convincing
when he prevented a curling free-kick from Shaun Maloney from finding
the top corner after Kris Commons was fouled just outside the box by
At the other end, Chadli was given
enough space to unleash a thunderous strike from 25 yards that whistled
inches past the post, before Dembele and Mertens both saw efforts fall
wide of target.
Fighting for his job: Scotland manager Craig Levein is now under huge pressure following another defeat
The game's up: Scotland's defence know they have a mountain to climb after conceding in Belgium
With half-time approaching, Scotland
threatened from another free-kick, with Commons forcing a decent save
from the keeper on this occasion.
Both sides made a change at the interval, with Jamie Mackie replacing Commons and Dembele making way for Hazard.
The Belgians hit the woodwork within
five minutes of the restart when Benteke threw himself in front of Toby
Alderweireld's cross only to see his header clip the crossbar on the way
Sharpshooter: Belgium midfielder Eden Hazard strikes a free kick at Scotland's goal in Brussels
Kevin Mirallas was thrown into the
action for Mertens, before McGregor was shown the first yellow card of
the game for time wasting on the hour mark.
The breakthrough came for the Belgians
after 69 minutes when Benteke bulleted home a header at the back post,
eventually beating the impressive McGregor.
On the attack: Belgium midfielder Dries Mertens (second left) gets his shot past Alan Hutton (centre)
Who, me Belgium's Nacer Chadli reacts after conceding a foul against Scotland
Belgium doubled their lead a minute
later when Kompany collected from Hazard on the edge of the area and
rifled an unstoppable shot into the back of the net.
It was a crushing blow for the Scots, who replaced Steven Fletcher with Kenny Miller, with just over 15 minutes to go.
Blackpool's Matt Phillips was then
handed his competitive debut, confirming his allegiance to a Scotland
side whose slim hopes of reaching the World Cup finals were, by then,
left in tatters.
I want to break free: Mousa Dembele (left) attempts to shake off Scotland midfielder James Morrison
Tussle: Vincent Kompany (left) fights for the ball with Scotland's Steven Fletcher (right)