Hazard and Lukaku dou­ble up for Bel­gium

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

TWO GOALS apiece from Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku eased Bel­gium to vic­tory over Tu­nisia at Moscow’s Spar­tak Sta­dium.

Michy Bat­shuayi, on loan at Dort­mund from Chelsea, added the fifth in the game’s fi­nal min­utes, only for Tu­nisia cap­tain Wahbi Khazri to claim a con­so­la­tion goal in added time.

Ranked third in the world, Bel­gium’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the next round was con­firmed by Eng­land’s de­mo­li­tion of Panama.

Within six min­utes of the start Hazard slot­ted home from the penalty spot. He had earned the chance him­self af­ter a neat ex­change with Lukaku was abruptly halted on the edge of the box.

There was some doubt about where the foul started, but VAR con­firmed the ref­eree’s sus­pi­cions about where it ended.

The Red Devils’ lead was dou­bled 10 min­utes later when Dries Mertens pounced on a heavy touch by de­fender Yas­sine Me­riah and played a per­fectly-weighted pass to Lukaku, who had made Mertens’s job eas­ier with a clever run.

The Manch­ester United striker’s fin­ish was smart, too, a left­footed strike from the edge of the box.

Within two min­utes Tu­nisia were back in it. Khazri de­liv­ered a su­perb free-kick into the box and Dy­lan Bronn headed past Thibaut Cour­tois.

Bronn’s de­light quickly turned to pain, though, when he was car­ried off with a twisted knee. He had been the only Bel­gian-based player on the pitch.

Tu­nisia would also lose de­fender Syam Ben Youssef to in­jury be­fore the break be­fore Lukaku scored his sec­ond in the third minute of stop­page-time. It was his fourth in this tour­na­ment and it came from a lovely as­sist by Thomas Me­u­nier.

Six min­utes af­ter the restart Kevin De Bruyne spot­ted Hazard dash­ing for­ward and un­furled a per­fect, 40-yard pass. Hazard dodged the on­rush­ing Farouk Ben Mustapha and tapped into the empty net.

Martinez was able to take off Lukaku on the hour and Hazard 10 min­utes later.

This gave Bat­shuayi a chance to add a fifth goal for Bel­gium in the 89th minute.

In truth, it could have been his third and he missed an­other chance a minute later.

Then, Khazri got the con­so­la­tion his ef­forts de­served.

Sadly for him, Tu­nisia’s World Cup had been over for some time at this point, but Bel­gium’s looks like it is just get­ting started ahead of play­ing Eng­land on Thurs­day.


MID­DLE MAN: Romelu Lukaku scores the third of Bel­gium’s five goals as they de­feated Tu­nisia in Moscow.

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