- Belgium beat Azerbaijan 5-0 in their Euro qualifying fixture played on Sunday evening at King Baudouin Stadium
- Lukaku scored four first-half goals in brilliant fashion before Arsenal forward Leandro Trossard completed the rout late on
Belgium beat Azerbaijan 5-0 in their Euro qualifying fixture played on Sunday evening at King Baudouin Stadium. Romelu Lukaku scored four first-half goals in brilliant fashion before Arsenal forward Leandro Trossard completed the rout late on.
Lukaku headed the opener from Jeremy Doku’s cross after 17 minutes of play before Eddy Pascual of Azerbaijan was shown a second yellow card for a foul on the 30-year-old striker. He then added a second in the 26th minute, smashing in from Timothy Castagne’s knock down.
The Roma forward, who is on loan from Chelsea, completed his hat-trick by the half-hour mark and grabbed his fourth after 37 minutes before being substituted at half-time. This is the first time that Lukaku has scored a quadruple in his international career. However, he has previously scored four goals at club level while playing for Premier League side Everton in 2017.
Romelu Lukaku’s tally of 14 goals is a record for a Euro qualifying campaign, surpassing the mark of 13 set by David Healy of Northern Ireland in 2008, which was later equalled by Robert Lewandowski of Poland in 2016. Lukaku’s qualifying goals put him far clear of closest rivals Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Kylian Mbappe of France who have scored ten and nine, respectively in this campaign.
Romelu Lukaku is now the seventh-highest goalscorer in international football history, with 83 goals in 113 matches for Belgium. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (128), Ali Daei of Iran (109), Lionel Messi of Argentina (106), Sunil Chhetri of India (93), Mokhtar Dahari of Malaysia (89) and Ferenc Puskas of Hunfary (84) have scored more than Lukaku in international football.
How Belgium Beat Azerbaijan
Belgium faced Azerbaijan on Sunday evening after already booking a spot at next year’s EURO tournament in Germany. The hosts had a sluggish start but eventually got into the game and took an early lead through red-hot Romelu Lukaku.
In-form Manchester City attacker Jeremy Doku received the ball on the left wing and then floated a perfect cross that found Lukaku in the danger area. As you would expect, the former Inter Milan man made no mistake as he directed the ball into the bottom left corner.
Azerbaijan midfielder Eddy Pascual then made things difficult for his side when he was sent off after fouling Lukaku in the 24th minute. The Roma striker was on the scoresheet barely two minutes later as Timothy Castagne unselfishly squared the ball to him. Lukaku slotted the ball home before running to celebrate with his teammates.
Belgium, who were now in full control of the match, came attacking again and their effort yielded results when Lukaku converted again. The 30-year-old was at the right place when Leicester City’s Wout Faes played a similar cross to Doku’s for the first goal in the box. Lukaku headed the ball into the bottom left corner to complete his hat-trick in 30 minutes.
Belgium were showing no signs of slowing down and they came knocking again after Orel Mangala pounced on a loose ball. The 25-year-old Nottingham Forest midfielder released Romelu Lukaku, who made no mistake as he converted his fourth goal of the night.
With work already done, Belgium manager Domenico Tedesco replaced Lukaku with 23-year-old Lois Openda at the break. Azerbaijan looked improved after the break but it didn’t take long before the hosts took control of the game again. However, they couldn’t find the net until the last minute of the game despite efforts from Doku, Leandro Trossard and a host of attacking substitutions.
It was Leandro Trossard who scored the fifth goal of the night and the final goal of the game after being played through by Doku. The win saw Belgium go unbeaten in Euro qualifiers and finish top of Group F with 20 points.