Belgium beat Tunisia 5-2 in Group G action in Moscow on Saturday afternoon to take a massive step towards qualification.
Belgium 5 Tunisia 2
Hazard (5′) scores penalty early on
Lukaku (16′) doubles Belgium lead
Bronn (18′) gets a goal back for Tunisia
Lukaku scores at the stroke of half-time
Hazard (50′) completes brace and Batshuayi nets
Khazri (93′) gets late second
Braces from Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard sealed a stunning victory for Belgium as they swept aside a shell-shocked Tunisia.
The North Africans responded with a goal of their own after going 2-0 down, but a massive gulf in class ensured Belgium turned up the heat to net five goals. At the death, Wahbi Khazri got a second.
Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez, opted to start to the same starting eleven which brushed aside Panama 3-0 in their opening game.
That continuity allowed them to pick up where they left off in Sochi. A fast start by the Europeans caught Tunisia on the back foot who were made to pay early on.
Just five minutes into the game danger-man Hazard found space down the right and darted towards goal before he was fouled in the box by Fakhereedine Ben Youssef.
Referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the spot and up stepped Hazard himself who sent goalkeeper, Farouk Ben Mustapha, the wrong way with a calculated low strike to the left corner of the goal.
11 minutes later, The Red Devils were another goal to the good. Ali Maaloul lost the ball in the midfield to Dries Mertens, who quickly found Lukaku in space.
The Manchester United man then showed good control to take the ball in his stride and race towards goal before stroking it past an outstretched Mustapha.
The North Africans were sinking quickly and needed a strong response. They managed just that with their first chance of the game. Dylan Bronn headed home an excellent free-kick from Wahbi Khazri, to beat Thibaut Courtois.
It was a goal which awakened Tunisia handing them confidence to commit numbers forward. With the Belgians retreating, Khazri found himself in space just outside the box and unleashed a venomous strike at goal which Courtois saved at the second attempt.
Just when the momentum looked like it was in Tunisia’s favour, Belgium hit back with the last kick of the half.
Mertens threaded a delightful ball through a hapless Tunisian defence for Lukaku, who took one touch and then dinked it over Mustapha into the net.
Belgium grabbed another goal six minutes into the second-half as Toby Alderweireld’s lobbed pass over the Tunisian defence found Hazard in space.
Time seemed to have stood still as Hazard beat the keeper and fired into an empty net to complete his brace.
It was a goal which deflated the Tunisians. Hazard’s work was done and he was soon withdrawn for Michy Batshuayi.
It seemed like a nightmare introduction for Batshuayi, who missed some easy chances. In the 75th minute he missed from point-blank range and then hit the bar from six yards out.
He would get his reward in the 90th minute when he dribbled his way into the defence and fired passed the goalkeeper.
With that said, Tunisia scored a late consolation goal through Khazri in the last play of the match, but the damage had already been done.
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