Soccer-Lukaku shrugs off cobwebs to score twice as Belgium thrash Estonia

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 13 Sep 2023

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Romelu Lukaku showed no ill-effects from a lack of playing time this season as he hammered home two goals in as many minutes for Belgium as they beat Estonia 5-0 in their European Championship qualifier in Brussels on Tuesday.

Lukaku has only played 20 minutes of club football this season after his belated loan move from Chelsea to AS Roma but was again on form for his national team, extending his record goal tally for the country to 77.

He is now also overall top scorer in the Euro 2024 qualifiers with eight goals.

He thrashed home his first of the night as he ran onto a defence splitting pass from the midfield in the 56th minute and then turned with his back to goal and hammered home his second with a typical target man’s effort in the 58th minute.

Belgium’s win kept them top of Group F, on goal difference from Austria, who won away at Sweden. Both have 13 points from five matches in the tussle to qualify for the finals in Germany next year.

Veteran defender Jan Vertonghen, marking his 150th cap, put Belgium ahead after four minutes, getting a slight touch to head home a corner from Yannick Carrasco.

Leandro Trossard was allowed time to dribble across the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a strong right-footed shot into the top corner for Belgium to extend their lead in the 18th minute.

Estonia’s Henri Anier hit the woodwork in the 24th minute with a rare effort for the Baltic country, who have only one point from their five qualifiers.

After Lukaku's brace, Belgium’s fifth goal came two minutes from the end from substitute Charles De Ketelaere who cleverly dribbled himself into position at the near post but his angled effort needed a slight deflection to go in.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

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