NICOSIA: Belgium's Eden Hazard struck a late winner to earn a 1-0 victory away to Cyprus on Sunday as they moved closer to a place at Euro 2016 but the result means Group B leaders Wales must wait to secure qualification.
An unmarked Hazard fired past keeper Antonis Giorgallides after substitute Dries Martens' pull back with Belgium having caught out the tiring Cypriots on the counter-attack.
After eight matches Wales have 18 points, after being held to a 0-0 draw by Israel in Cardiff earlier on Sunday, with second-placed Belgium on 17 and Israel on 13. Cyprus have nine.
The result means Belgium are guaranteed at least a playoff spot due to their superior head-to-head record with Bosnia, who have 11 points after beating Andorra 3-0 at home.
They will guarantee a place at the finals in France if they beat bottom team Andorra in their next match in October.
Sunday's match appeared to be heading for a goalless draw as Belgium were restricted to long-range efforts and Cyprus will feel hard done by after holding their own for most of the game.
Marc Wilmots Belgium side, ranked second in the world, looked sluggish from the start and it was no surprise when the disappointing Christian Benteke was taken off at halftime.
His replacement, Liverpool team mate Divock Origi, fared no better without decent service but Hazard's close-range strike ensured Cyprus were again undone by a late goal.
Belgium had come close in the 19th minute after a clever interchange between midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Radja Nainggolan saw the latter test Giorgallides for the first time.
Belgium keeper Thibault Courtois was finally tested just past the half-hour mark when Marios Nikolaou;'s shot from the edge of the box was easily saved.
In the 40th minute Giorgallides saved again when a clever one-two between Benteke and De Bruyne saw Manchester City's new signing through one-on-one but he fired straight at the keeper.
A minute into the second half Hazard's fierce shot from the edge of the area stung Giorgallides's hands and two minutes later a speculative long-range free-kick from De Bruyne was pushed around the post by the keeper.
On the hour mark Belgium came close again as Courtois caught the ball from a corner and threw it to Nainggolan whose right-foot curling effort went just wide of the far post.
Hazard's 80th minute free kick was repelled by Giorgallides but he popped up again five minutes later to tuck away the only goal leaving Belgium within touching distance of qualifying.