Lukaku hits 50th goal in Bel­gium’s romp to fi­nals

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Euro 2020 Qualifiers - Mile­stone man: Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Bel­gium beat San Marino 9-0

Romelu Lukaku scored his 50th in­ter­na­tional goal as Bel­gium thrashed San Marino 9-0 and be­came the first side through to the Euro 2020 fi­nals.

Un­beaten Bel­gium have 21 points from seven games, with only one goal con­ceded. Rus­sia, who ham­mered Scot­land 4-0 last night, are on 18, and Cyprus, 2-1 win­ners over Kaza­khstan in As­tana, are on 10. The top two in each group qual­ify di­rectly.

San Marino man­aged to keep a clean sheet for 27 min­utes against the top-ranked 2018 World Cup semi-fi­nal­ists be­fore, as ex­pected, the Group I flood­gates opened at the King Bau­douin sta­dium in Brus­sels. For­mer Chelsea, Everton and Manch­ester United striker Lukaku, who is now at In­ter Mi­lan, be­came the first Bel­gian to reach a half-cen­tury of in­ter­na­tional goals with a right-footed shot to open the scoring and soon fol­lowed up with his sec­ond.

Croa­tia re­main on course to reach Euro 2020 af­ter two goals from striker Bruno Petkovic helped them to a 3-0 home win over Hun­gary in Group E. The Croa­t­ians top the group with 13 points from six matches and will se­cure a berth in next year’s fi­nals with a match to spare if they beat Wales away on Sun­day.

Slo­vakia are sec­ond on 10 points from six matches, one ahead of third-placed Hun­gary, while Wales are fourth with seven points from five games af­ter their 1-1 draw in Slo­vakia last night. Bot­tom team Azer­bai­jan have one point.

The Croa­t­ians dom­i­nated af­ter cap­tain Luka Mo­dric fired them into a fifth-minute lead when he picked up a loose ball in mid­field, raced down the mid­dle and steered a shot past Hun­gary goal­keeper Peter Gu­lacsi. Petkovic made it 2-0 with a de­light­ful back-heel from close range af­ter Ante Re­bic left his marker for dead on the left flank and squared the ball to the Di­namo Zagreb striker.

A cat­a­logue of de­fen­sive er­rors al­lowed Petkovic to bun­dle in the third late in the first half, as Ta­mas Kadar and Gu­lacsi mis­judged Ivan Perisic’s low cross from the right.

Gu­lacsi made amends in the 55th minute when he saved Perisic’s penalty af­ter Re­bic was fouled but any hopes of a Hun­gary come­back were dashed mo­ments later when Las­zlo Klein­heisler was sent off for a sec­ond book­able of­fence.

Bay­ern Mu­nich’s Robert Le­wandowski scored a hat-trick for Group G lead­ers Poland – his sixth for his coun­try – as they won 3-0 away to bot­tom side Latvia.

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