De Bruyne scores as Belgium get back on track
The home team, who lost at Group B leaders Wales in June, had a wealth of possession but struggled to break down a well-organised Bosnia who also threatened on the counter attack through the menacing Edin Dzeko.
Dzeko opened the scoring with his fifth goal against Belgium, floating in a header after Mensur Mujdza was allowed to advance unchallenged.
Belgium, however, went into halftime 2-1 up thanks to a thunderous header from a corner by Marouane Fellaini and a sharp turn and shot from De Bruyne who joined City last month for an estimated 50 million pounds ($76.26 million).
The hosts needed keeper Thibaut Courtois to be in top form. He saved a cracking drive from Haris Medunjanin before Chelsea team mate Eden Hazard won and converted a penalty in the 78th minute to calm the nerves of the fans.
Belgium showed signs of missing injured striker Christian Benteke. Replacement Romelu Lukaku offered a similar aerial threat but was less comfortable holding the ball with his back to goal.
Wales top the group with 17 points after a 1-0 victory in Cyprus. Second-placed Belgium trail by three points with three matches left while Bosnia are fifth on eight.
The Welsh entertain third-placed Israel on Sunday, the same day as Belgium travel to Cyprus. The top two automatically go through to the finals in France.
Coach Marc Wilmots was happy with the way his team retained their composure after Dzeko’s opener.
“We had to stay calm. This team has matured. We don’t panic or get anxious,” he said.
“What’s important is that we got the three points … I think it was a good Belgium with Thibaut saving us once or twice.”
Wilmots’ counterpart Mehmed Bazdarevic conceded Bosnia were now competing for third place in the group and a playoff spot.
“We had a great team in front of us. After the equaliser they became euphoric and completed dominated us,” he said.
Bosnia next face Andorra and Wales before travelling to Cyprus, a fixture list Bazdarevic described as “favourable”.
“We will fight until the end,” he said.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Robert-Jan Bartunek,; Editing by Tony Jimenez)