Belgium on the verge of World Cup’s last 16
● Romelu Lukaku drew level with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the World Cup goalscoring charts yesterday, scoring twice as Belgium moved to the brink of the last 16 after a 5-2 romp against Tunisia.
The victory leaves the Red Devils top of Group G with two wins ahead of their clash on Thursday against England, who play Panama today. After also scoring twice in the opening 3-0 win against Panama, Manchester United’s Lukaku showed clinical finishing with two first-half goals in Moscow, matching Ronaldo’s tally in Russia.
Not to be outdone, Belgium captain Eden Hazard scored in either half, including an early penalty at the Spartak Stadium, before substitute Michy Batshuayi added their fifth.
Tunisia’s goals came from defender Dylan Bronn and captain Wahbi Khazri.
Hazard was sent tumbling after just five minutes but converted the penalty.
Midfielder Ferjani Sassi picked up an early booking for complaining when Tunisia’s appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears, just before Belgium added their second goal. Ali Maaloul’s weak pass on the halfway line was collected by Dries Mertens, who sprinted away and put Lukaku clear.
The striker coolly hit his shot inside the far post in the 16th minute.
Tunisia responded two minutes later, Bronn leaping highest to head home a freekick from his skipper Khazri on 18 minutes.
With half time approaching, the Belgians grabbed their third goal through Lukaku.
Thomas Meunier put him in behind the defence and Lukaku tucked his shot away, celebrating with Kevin De Bruyne, who started the move. The Manchester City maestro turned provider again after the break for Hazard.
The Chelsea star sprinted onto De Bruyne’s lofted pass, held off two defenders, rounded keeper Ben Mustapha and tapped in Belgium’s fourth goal in the 51st minute.
Coach Roberto Martinez took off Lukaku, then Hazard as the half wore on and for the final 22 minutes brought on Batshuayi.
The Borussia Dortmund forward got Belgium’s fifth goal.
Tunisia captain Khazri grabbed their second goal just before the final whistle of their second defeat in Russia.