Romelu Lukaku fired a first-half brace to join Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot race as an imperious Belgium side swept aside Tunisia 5-2 in their Group G encounter at the Spartak Stadium on Saturday.
With the Portuguese leading the scoring charts with four goals before the tie, Lukaku went level with the reigning Ballon d’Or winner before half-time in the tie against the North Africans, yet will be rueing his own wastefulness on in front of goal as he could very easily have gone out of sight.
Alarmingly for the rest of their opposition and England in particular, Belgium were ruthless from the off and led by the dynamic Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, were 2-0 up with just 16 minutes on the clock.
Hazard cooly converted a cool penalty in the 5th minute itself before Lukaku added a second 11 minutes later and while Tunisia responded with a goal of their own in the 18th minute, it seemed only a matter of time before Roberto Martinez’s men put the result beyond doubt.
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Lukaku would add his second in the third minute of injury time, with wing-back Thomas Meunier providing the assist for the burly front man this time.
Hazard further extended the Red Devils’ lead early in the second-half, rounding the keeper deftly before stroking into an empty net and Martinez responded by taking off Lukaku for Marouane Fellaini at the hour-mark.
Michy Batshuayi was another notable introduction and the Chelsea forward would, after missing a glut of sitters, add Belgium’s fifth in a crazy end to the tie.
Tunisia got a goal back deep in second-half injury time, but Belgium’s offensive firepower proved too much on the day and they are certainly looking like contenders at this stage.
Granted, Tunisia’s momentum was hampered by two first-half substitutions due to injuries, but they were a few levels below their opponents on the day and England will not be looking forward to their June 28 encounter with the Belgians.