Lukaku Hits Brace As Belgium Ease Pasy Debutants Panama

Lukaku Hits Brace As Belgium Ease Pasy Debutants Panama

Romelu Lukaku scored a brace for Belgium who defeated debutants Panama 3-0 in their Russia 2018 World Cup opening Group G clash in Sochi on Monday.

Dries Mertens opened scoring at the start of the second half for Belgium before Manchester United striker Lukaku found the back of the net in the 69th and 76th minutes of the encounter.

The star-studded Belgian side started brightly but found an equal in Panama, who grew into game as the half-time beckoned. The first half ended goalless after Mertens and Eden Hazard came close with attempts on goal.

At the start of the second half, Panama failed to clear a loose ball inside the box which allowed Mertens fire in a looping volley past Jaime Penedo in goal for Panama.

Panama had an opportunity to equalise in the 55th minute when Jeison Murillo to latched onto a chipped through ball but the Valencia defender hesitation made Thibaut Courtois comes off his line to make a vital save.

Lukaku made it 2-0 with a header to give the Red Devils a two goal cushion. The goal was the 25-year-old’s 37th international goal in 70 caps for Belgium.

The former Chelsea striker finished off a fine counter-attack after he latched on to a perfect pass from Eden Hazard in the 75th minute to make it 3-0 for Belgium. Lukaku, who is making his second World Cup appearance, took his tally to five after scoring twice for Belgium in the 2014 tournament.

Belgium will now face Tunisia in their next game on Saturday while Panama will face England.

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