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Belgium run riot after scare in Estonia; Lukaku bags brace & Arsenal talent wins his first cap

Belgium run riot after scare in Estonia; Lukaku bags brace & Arsenal talent wins his first cap

Belgium hit Estonia for five on the back of Lukaku brace

Belgium got its qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup back underway with a 5-2 win against Estonia in Tallin at the A.

Le Coq Arena this evening.

https://twitter.com/ESPNPlus/status/1433517953769607175?s=20

It was an expected outcome, but could have gone horribly wrong for De Rode Duivels when the hosts took a surprising 1-0 lead through Mattias Käit inside the opening 2-minutes. Hans Vanaken restored parity 20-minutes later before Romelu Lukaku bagged back-to-back strikes – including what would be the eventual match-winner – to put Belgium 3-1 up on the night.

The Antwerp-native and current Chelsea leading man now sits at 66-international goals in 99-caps, which pushes him up to 22nd in the all-time men’s goalscoring table, ahead of Didier Drogba, and just two away from cracking the top-20, as well as 34-goals clear of Eden Hazard (32) on Belgium’s all-time list despite still only being 28-years-old.

More of the same will be expected from Lukaku as Belgium clashes with the tricky Czech Republic in three days’ time, and then concludes the international break with a trip to Belarus.

Sambi Lokonga earns first Belgium cap; star continues to rise

It was another influential evening for Romelu Lukaku, who continues to cement his image in Belgium footballing lore as one of the best players ever produced by the lowlands nation, but another star has continued to rise recently in Arsenal’s Sambi Lokonga.

Belgium run riot after scare in Estonia; Lukaku bags brace & Arsenal talent wins his first cap

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 01: Albert Sambi Lokonga of Arsenal during the Pre Season Friendly between Arsenal and Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on August 1, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

The RSC Anderlecht youth academy graduate has been at the center of another crop of talented young players to come out of Belgium in the last few years, with the Brussels-born midfielder emerging as one of the most gifted Anderlecht products in some time, up there with Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans.

Lokonga was already on Roberto Martinez’s radar this past summer at Euro 2020, when he included the 21-year-old in his preliminary Belgium squad. Though he did not make the final selection, it was clear that the youngster was being billed as one for the immediate future, and much of the excitement around his move to Arsenal was attributed to this.

His form for the Gunners this season will play a large role in his chances at international level, but his performances in the early part of the 2021-22 season paint the picture of a player who looks far more ready for the challenge than many first thought.


This article was edited by Conor Laird.