Romelu Lukaku kept up his superb scoring form for Belgium with a double as they opened their Euro 2020 account with a 3-0 Group B victory over Russia.
Lukaku, stood in an offside position, turned and fired home from Dries Mertens’ cross after a touch from Andrei Semyonov ruled him onside in the eyes of the officials in St Petersburg.
First-half substitute Thomas Meunier added a cushion for the FIFA top-ranked team, turning home the rebound after Thorgan Hazard’s left-wing shot had been turned into his path by Anton Shunin.
With two minutes remaining Lukaku added his second – and his 20th in his last 15 competitive internationals – by outpacing defender Igor Diveev from Meunier’s pass and beating Shunin with a low finish.
Russia had started the better on home soil but flagged badly after falling behind and failed to use veteran forward Artem Dzyuba’s height to their advantage, as they failed to test Thibaut Courtois throughout and started their Group B campaign with a hard-working but frustrating defeat.
More to follow…
Russia are the first of these two sides to play again, facing Finland in Saint Petersburg on Wednesday (kick-off 2pm), Belgium travel to Copenhagen to play Denmark (kick-off 5pm).