Belgium secured a comfortable 2-0 win in Macedonia to maintain their lead at the top of Group A on goal difference.
Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard with a penalty were on target for the visitors, who are now on 13 points from five matches and a goal better off then Croatia, who won 2-0 at home to Serbia.
Belgium, who headed into the contest unbeaten in their previous four matches, made a rocky start and were thankful that Ivan Trickovski's header went wide of Thibaut Courtois' post.
The Chelsea stopper then held on to a Agim Ibraimi effort after 14 minutes, before, with their first meaningful attack, Belgium took the lead.
Cutting in from the right, De Bruyne beat Alexander Lazevski before firing past Tome Pacovski at his near post, with the stopper diving in the opposite direction.
After struggling to create chances, striker Mirko Ivanovski replaced Adis Jahovic after 57 minutes as the hosts searched for an equaliser.
However, it was the visitors who came close to adding to their lead just two minutes later when De Bruyne's header was header straight at Pacovski by Vermaelen, who was just six yards out.
They did however get their second moments later with Hazard converting from the spot after Lazevski brought down the Chelsea man.
The home side lost their discipline, with Lazevski, Boban Grncarov and Ivanovski all going into the book.
Ibraimi had another effort late on which was repelled by Courtois, but Belgium were worthy winners.