A er a long drought, Lukaku goes off for hat trick

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

BEL­GIAN in­ter­na­tional striker Romelu Lukaku’s long­est goal drought in English foot­ball came to an end in dra­matic fash­ion on Septem­ber 12 as a hat-trick saw Ever­ton de­feat Sun­der­land 3-0 in their Premier League clash.

The 23-year-old – who hadn’t scored for his club in 13 matches dat­ing back to March – scored all three in 11 min­utes of the sec­ond half to lift his side into third in the Premier League, two points be­hind lead­ers Manch­ester City.

“I think it was all about fit­ness lev­els. I’m happy for the team,” Lukaku told Sky Sports.

“I think I could have had five in the end. I have to be more of a se­rial killer for the team to achieve their ob­jec­tive.”

While the vic­tory meant Ron­ald Koe­man be­came the first Ever­ton man­ager since Thomas McIn­tosh in 1919 to win his first two com­pet­i­tive away games for for­mer Ever­ton han­dler David Moyes it was sheer mis­ery.

His Sun­der­land side have gar­nered just a point from the first four matches and have be­gun a sea­son with four win­less games for the sixth con­sec­u­tive year.

Koe­man, who ar­rived from Southamp­ton in the sum­mer, was fu­ri­ous with the first-half per­for­mance but said he had not been wor­ried by Lukaku’s lack of goals as he is a “great player”.

“I think we will be one of the teams that will fight for Euro­pean foot­ball,” the Dutch­man told Sky Sports.

“That is a re­al­is­tic tar­get. If we play like we did in the first half we will be 13th or 14th. The play­ers are not stupid – they know what they can do.”

Moyes for his part said the new play­ers he had brought in would take time to set­tle but that wasn’t a good enough ex­cuse for their per­for­mance.

“I was re­ally dis­ap­pointed, es­pe­cially with the last 30 min­utes,” said Moyes.

Lukaku had the best chance of a fre­netic first half where both sides showed a will­ing­ness to at­tack but con­jured up few op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The Bel­gian front­man, though, might have done bet­ter than head­ing it straight at young Sun­der­land goal­keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford, the Eng­land un­der-21 in­ter­na­tional still re­act­ing bril­liantly to tip the thun­der­bolt header over the bar.

Koe­man made one change at the break tak­ing off an un­der-per­form­ing Ross Barkley and send­ing on Span­ish winger Ger­ard Deulofeu.

Sun­der­land were again on the back foot at the start of the sec­ond half.

They lifted the pres­sure tem­po­rar­ily when cen­tral de­fender Lamine Kone – scorer of a brace when the Black Cats trounced Ever­ton 3-0 to en­sure they re­mained in the Premier League in May – rose above Phil Jagielka but Maarten Steke­len­burg was equal to the task of saving his 52nd minute header.

Sun­der­land es­caped a minute later when the lively Deulofeu broke free but his whizzing shot was blocked by Jack Rod­well, only for the ball to work its way out to Sea­mus Cole­man.

The Ir­ish in­ter­na­tional’s cross shot sneaked across goal and although Lukaku got an out­stretched boot to it, it wasn’t enough to di­rect it into the net, the ball trick­ling wide of the post.

How­ever, he made no mis­take on the hour mark as un­marked he headed Idrissa Gu­eye’s cross past Pick­ford – Deulofeu the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the goal hav­ing won the ball mid­way in his own half from Wahbi Khazri and bring­ing it deep into Sun­der­land ter­ri­tory.

The out­stand­ing Gu­eye then went close af­ter Lukaku scuffed his shot be­fore Lukaku saw the cross­bar deny him a sec­ond in the 63rd minute.

How­ever, he was not to be de­nied five min­utes later as Yan­nick Bo­lasie found space down the left, cut to the by­line and crossed to an un­marked Lukaku who made no mis­take with his header.

Two min­utes on and Lukaku raced clear af­ter be­ing found by a su­perb sleight-rule pass by Kevin Mi­ral­las, and the Bel­gian striker slot­ted it non­cha­lantly past Pick­ford for his hat­trick. –

Photo: AFP

Ever­ton’s Bel­gian striker Romelu Lukaku cel­e­brates scor­ing his team’s third goal dur­ing the English Premier League foot­ball match be­tween Sun­der­land and Ever­ton at the Sta­dium of Light in Sun­der­land on Septem­ber 12.

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