High scoring affair in Moscow

Amol Gokhale
Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hazard and Lukaku score brace each as Belgium thumps Tunisia 5-2

The Spartak Stadium in Moscow bathed in bright sunshine for the first hour of the game. But soon weather changed, one end of a Spartak continued to shine in the sunshine, it poured - both rains and goals as Belgium thumped Tunisia 5-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Red Devils were donning their yellow kit for the game and just like the bright colour of their jersey, the shone brightly in their Group G fixture as they were propelled by a brace by captain Eden Hazard and striker Romelu Lukaku before Michy Batshuayi added the fifth goal in the 90th minute of the game.

A record number of penalties

Skipper Hazard played a neat one-two with midfielder Dries Mertens and continued his run before the Chelsea playmaker was brought down by Tunisia defender Syam Ben Youssef. After consulting with the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Moscow, referee Jair Marrufo upheld his decision to award Belgium a penalty.

Hazard, who was fouled on the edge of the box, took the responsibility of converting the spot-kick and sent  Tunisia custodian Farouk Ben Mustapha the wrong way, placing a penalty in the bottom left corner. It was the 13th penalty of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, equalling the number of penalties awarded in the entire 2014 edition in Brazil.

Lukaku on fire

After getting an early lead, Red Devils stepped on the gas and hassled Tunisian side with high pressing and forcing them to give away needless possession in dangerous areas.

In the 16th minute, Mertens put Lukaku through with a defence-splitting pass and the 25-year-old striker got better of his marker to slot into the far corner to double his sides’ lead.

109 seconds later, Tunisia were right back in the game after Dylan Bronn put a thumping header past Belgium stopper Thibaut Courtois after his side had earned a free-kick in a promising position.

Lukaku, with his second brace in his second World Cup game, joined Cristiano Ronaldo for the race for Golden Ball and became only the second player after Diego Maradona to score two consecutive braces in the World Cup, a feat achieved 32-years after.

In the second-half, Belgium showed their true class and why they are unbeaten in their previous 20 matches as they toyed with Tunisian side.

Belgium had their fourth goal in the 51st minute when defender Toby Alderweireld found his captain with a 
long ball.

The high scoring affair in Moscow puts Belgium on top of their Group while second successive loss effectively ends Tunisia’s campaign in the World Cup.

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