Romelu Lukaku double sees Belgium past Switzerland
UEFA Nations League, Koning Boudewijnstadion - Belgium 2 (Lukaku 58', 84') Switzerland 1 (Gavranovic 76')
Romelu Lukaku bagged a brace as Belgium extended their 100% start to the UEFA Nations League with a 2-1 home win over Switzerland.
This was a match that took a while to come to the boil, with the opening 45 minutes witnessing little in the way of scoring opportunities or drama. The second half was much more of a spectacle, though, with Lukaku giving the Red Devils the lead just before the hour mark, finding the net with a low finish.
Switzerland made the most of some slack Belgian defending, though, to net an equaliser when substitute Mario Gavranovic slammed home a finish following a knock back from a Xherdan Shaqiri freekick to the back post.
However, Lukaku scored a second after 84 minutes to give Belgium all three points, building on their 3-0 away win over Iceland to give Roberto Martinez’s side six points from six to start their UEFA Nations League campaign.
TALKING POINT - Romelu Lukaku is still the main man for Belgium despite club struggles
While Lukaku has had his troubles, like many have at Manchester United of late, his scoring record over 2018 for Belgium is in no doubt. The 25-year-old has scored two or more goals in eight of his last 18 games for Belgium. Eden Hazard might be the creator in chief for the Red Devils, but Lukaku is their marksman, the man who makes the difference for them in the final third. One wonders if Jose Mourinho was watching tonight.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
This wasn’t the most complete performance from Lukaku, but he proved the match winner with two goals in the second half. He might have had three were it not for a spurned sitter just moments before the winner was scored, but nonetheless, the Manchester United forward only had three real opportunities all night long and took two of them. That’s a decent conversion rate by anyone’s measure.
Switzerland - Sommer 6, Lang 5, Elvedi 5, Schar 6, Rodriguez 7, Zakaria 6, Xhaka 6, Shaqiri 7, Freuier 5, Zuber 6, Seferovic 5. Subs - Gavranovic 7, Fernandes 5, Fassnacht.
56’ Across the face of goal! That's easily the closest Switzerland have come to finding the net. Zubar's shot flashed across the face of goal. Shaqiri would have got on the end of it had he gambled!
58’ GOAL! Belgium 1-0 Switzerland: Belgium have found the opener and it's Lukaku! A great passing move from the hosts involves Hazard, Mertens and Meunier before being played to Lukaku, who finds the net with a low finish.
75’ GOAL! Belgium 1-1 Switzerland: He hasn't been on the pitch for long, but Gavranovic has grabbed an equaliser for Switzerland! Shaqiri's freekick was headed back into the danger area at the back post and the striker was on hand to slam home the finish.
81’ Kompany WIDE! What an opportunity for the veteran centre back! He had a free header from a corner kick, but from about eight yards out he somehow managed to head wide of the post!
83’ LUKAKU SITTER! That should have been a second Belgium goal! Chadli did so well to get to the byline and square for Lukaku, but with the keeper out from his goal he scoops well over.
85’ GOAL! Belgium 2-1 Switzerland: Lukaku makes amends for his earlier miss and gives Belgium the lead again! It was another great passing move and the striker slips the finish under Sommer after being played in by Mertens. Very calm finish.
90’ Penalty claim! Switzerland believe that they should have been awarded a spot kick. Courtois spilled a shot, then came off his line to dive at the feet of an opposition player. No penalty given.
Romelu Lukaku has now scored two or more goals in eight of his last 18 games for Belgium.