St Petersburg, June 13 (IANS) Belgium scored twice in the first half and Romelu Lukaku added another in the closing minutes to defeat a hapless Russia in their opening Euro 2020 Group B game.
A brace from Lukaku and a goal from substitute Thomas Meunier helped clinical “Red Devils” to jump atop the standings in the group as Russia gave a lacklustre display in the late Saturday night match.
Russia started highly motivated on home soil while Belgium deliberately slowed the pace.
However, with 10 minutes into the game, Lukaku broke the deadlock after capitalising on Andrei Semyonov’s blackout inside the box before firing past goalkeeper Anton Shunin, reports Xinhua.
Russia responded well and tested Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in quick succession through Mario Fernandes, but Courtois was equal to both the headers.
Belgium remained ruthless and punished Russia for another mistake before the break as Shunin parried a shot on target into the path of Thomas Meunier, who made no mistake to tap home for a 2-0 lead, seven minutes after his substitution in the 34th minute.
Belgium was in full control until the half time but after the break the “Red Devils” lost a bit of the initiative.
Although Stanislav Cherchesov’s men turned up after the restart, they weren’t able to threaten Courtois.
Belgium eventually put the result beyond doubt in the 88th minute when Lukaku made the most of Meunier’s through ball to wrap up his brace.
With the result, Belgium have moved to the top spot in Group B followed by Finland, Denmark and Russia.