The Estonian men's national football team lost 0-3 at home to Belgium in their latest Euro 2024 qualifying match on Tuesday night. Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku scored two goals in the space of three first half minutes and Johan Bakayoko added a third late on, rounding off a successful trip to Tallinn for the visitors.
Just as they did on Saturday in Baku against Azerbaijan, Estonia played some great football for the first 35 minutes of Tuesday night's home fixture with Belgium.
Even though the team at number 4 in FIFA's latest world rankings may have been missing one or two of their biggest stars, Estonia did well to put them on the back foot with their high pressing, leading to some good chances early on.
In the end however, it was only a matter of time before the visitors showed their class. On 37 minutes, Leicester City's Timothy Castagne outmuscled Vlasiy Sinyavskiy (Slovácko) by the corner flag to retain possession and prevent Estonia from clearing the danger. Castagne then fed Aster Vranckx (AC Milan), whose cross from the right was met by Inter striker Romelu Lukaku.
Lukaku managed to get in front of Estonia's number 6 Rasmus Peetson (FCI Levadia Tallinn), adding the faintest of touches to guide the ball into Karl Jakob Hein's (Arsenal) goal.
Three minutes later, Belgium had doubled their advantage. While his first of the night was a somewhat scrappy affair, there was nothing fortuitous about Lukaku's second.
Rennes' left back Arthur Theate burst forward on the left and picked out the Inter man with a low cross straight driven into the Inter Milan forward's path. With three Estonian defenders unable to get a touch, all that was left for Lukaku to do was convert calmly from five yards.
At 2-0 down, Estonian head coach Thomas Häberli made several changes in an attempt to turn things around. On came Georgi Tunjov (SPAL) and Henri Anier. They were later joined by Rocco Robert Shein (FC Utrecht), Erik Sorga (Lokomotiv Plovdiv) and Sten Reinkort (Flora Tallinn), but chances to pull one back were few and far between.
Nevertheless, it took until the final minute of normal time for Belgium to add a third. Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco found Johan Bakayoko on the edge of the Estonian penalty area. The 20-year-old PSV forward took one touch to steady himself, then a second to shift the ball between two defenders before curling a left foot shot around Karl Jakob Hein. 3-0 to Belgium.
Elsewhere in qualifying Group F, Austria beat Sweden 2-0 thanks to a late brace from Christoph Baumgartner on Tuesday to put them top of the table with ten points from their first four games.
Belgium are in second place with seven points and a game in hand over the Austrians.
Sweden have taken just three points from their opening three qualifiers, while Estonia and Azerbaijan both have one point each from the draw they played out last week.
Editor: Michael Cole