Hazard and Lukaku double up for Belgium
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.