World Cup 2018: Romelu Lukaku double helps Belgium thrash Panama 3-0

first_imgA Romelu Lukaku double and a Dries Mertens stunner helped Belgium beat World Cup first-timers Panama 3-0 at the at the Fisht Stadium on Monday.Mertens opened the scoring with a superb volley two minutes into the second half as he sent the ball over goalkeeper Jaime Penedo after Panama failed to clear a cross.Lukaku’s work rate worked well for him when he headed home a Kevin De Bruyne cross off the outside off his foot to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute. He went on to add one more when he rushed goal wards after Eden Hazard found him with a great ball and then he chipped the ball over the keeper to complete his brace.Belgium stretched their unbeaten streak to 20 games after their win over Panama. This was also their 10th straight game unbeaten in the group stages of the World Cup. They have now won five and drawn five each.Job done for @BelRedDevils #BELPAN // #WorldCup World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 18, 2018Earlier, the announcement of the first team to represent the Central American nation at the World Cup finals was greeted by an ear-splitting roar from the thousands of flag-waving Panamanian fans dotted in clusters around the Fisht Stadium.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEThe debutants suffered a shaky start as Lukaku went close for Belgium in the opening minute after an incisive pass from De Bruyne set Yannick Carrasco free down the left, but the striker fired wide.advertisementDespite being forced to spend much of the game defending, the Panamanians showed strength, speed and trickery when they did break forward, and they created chances of their own in a scoreless first half.Indian kid creates history during Belgium-Panama matchBelgium wasted no time in the second period with Mertens opening the scoring two minutes in, and as the underdogs started to chase an equaliser the space opened up.The Belgians showcased an array of clever set-pieces and will be happy with their performance against a physical Panama side ahead of games against Tunisia and England, who meet in Volgograd later on Monday.The opening goal came as a relief to the Belgians, who have seen other favourites struggle against well-organised opponents in the opening round of World Cup games.The Belgians put their slow start behind them in the second half as their passing game started to click, but Panama still managed to find opportunities for counter-attacks and were unlucky not to score.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img

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