Tue | Sep 21, 2021

Lukaku powers Belgium to big win

Published:Sunday | June 13, 2021 | 12:12 AM
Lukaku
Lukaku

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (AP):

Romelu Lukaku delivered a heartfelt message to Denmark player Christian Eriksen after scoring the first of his two goals in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Russia yesterday at the European Championship.

After swivelling to shoot into the bottom corner in the 10th minute, Lukaku headed to a television camera and grabbed it with both hands, saying “Chris, Chris, I love you.”

Lukaku plays for Italian team Inter Milan alongside Eriksen, who needed urgent medical treatment before being taken to the hospital after collapsing on the field during Denmark’s match against Finland in Copenhagen earlier yesterday.

That led to the match in Denmark being suspended for about 90 minutes before resuming and finishing just after Belgium’s game started in St. Petersburg. Eriksen was in a stable condition, UEFA said.

Substitute Thomas Meunier added a second goal in the 34th minute and Lukaku made it 3-0 in the 88th for top-ranked Belgium, which validated their status as one of the favourites at Euro 2020 with a comfortable win in front of a heavily pro-Russian crowd of 26,264 spectators.

LOUD JEERS

Before the game, there were loud jeers around Saint Petersburg Stadium after Belgium’s players took a knee before kick-off. Loud music was played while the gesture against racism was taking place but the boos were still audible.

Belgium’s victory was all the more impressive given the team was without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who wasn’t deemed ready after a minor operation on a fractured nose and eye socket, and with captain Eden Hazard only playing the final 19 minutes as a substitute.

Lacking his ideal supporting cast, Lukaku still managed to score in each half — moving to 62 goals in 93 international matches in the process.