Romelu Lukaku scores twice as Estonia go down 5:0 to Belgium

Romelu Lukaku in action against Estonia in the Euro 2024 qualifier game, Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
Romelu Lukaku in action against Estonia in the Euro 2024 qualifier game, Tuesday, September 12, 2023. Source: SCANPIX/IMAGO/Photo News

Estonia's men's national football team suffered its second 5:0 defeat in four days, this time losing away to top team Belgium, in a European Championships 2024 Group F qualifying match.

Estonia had already gone down 5:0 at home to Sweden on Saturday, so meeting Belgium, Group F leaders and fifth-ranked team worldwide was always going to be challenging, not least since Romelu Lukaku, who had put six goals past Estonia so far including in June's 3:0 home defeat, was on the pitch.

On the other hand, Lukaku has not played much this season after an increasingly unhappy second spell with Chelsea has been followed by a season-long loan to AS Roma, for which the striker will have to take a £10 million pay cut, no less.

Belgium in any event came into the match off a 1:0 away win against Azerbaijan in Baku on Saturday.

The head-to-head record wouldn't have brought much encouragement to the visitors either: Of nine meetings, Estonia had only won one, in 2009 during the world cup qualifiers for the following year.

In addition to danger man Lukaku, defender Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht) was getting his 150th national team start on Tuesday, a record for that country.

The match kicked off late, at 9.45 p.m. Estonian time, at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.

In the event it was the veteran Vertonghen who put Belgium 1:0 up, four minutes in off the head, from a corner kick by midfielder Yannick Carrasco (Al-Shabab), ESPN reports.

Key statistics from the Belgium-Estonia match, Tuesday, September 12, 2023. Source: ERR

Winger Leandro Trossard (Arsenal) next found the net on the 18th minute,

Henrik Anier (Lee Man) had a go on the 24th minute for Estonia, but hit the woodwork.

Shaking off any concerns people might have had of his being a bit rusty, Lukaku managed to score twice in two minutes, the first of these on the 56th minute, taking his goal tally for the national side to 77, while the eight he has so far scored in the Euro 2024 qualifiers makes him top marksman also.

The score remained 4:0 to the hosts until two minutes from time, thanks to midfielder Charles De Ketelaere (Atalanta), who had come on as a substitute.

Belgium remain top of Group F with 13 points, though only on goal difference over Austria, who won away to Sweden on Tuesday.

The European Championships finals start June 14 next year. With three games to go in qualification, Estonia will not be there, however.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: ESPN, ERR Sport

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