Tedesco Reign Begins In Victory As Lukaku Nets Hat-trick For Belgium Against Sweden
posted by Dawson at Saturday, March 25, 2023 Comment | 0
Romelu Lukaku’s hat-trick helped Belgium 🇧🇪 make a perfect start to qualifying for the 2024 European Championships, as the Red Devils defeated Sweden 🇸🇪 3-0 to hand Domenico Tedesco victory in his first competitive game in charge.
The two countries were meeting in a European Championships qualifier for the first time, with the Swedes 🇸🇪 well aware that this would be one of their toughest games of the campaign as they aim to qualify for a seventh consecutive finals. The Blue and Yellow had an early reminder of The Red Devils’ threat when Dodi Lukebakio’s effort was deflected just wide of the right post. Janne Andersson’s side then went agonisingly close to taking the lead when Dejan Kulusevski’s shot crept under Thibaut Courtois, but Wout Faes was able to recover just in time to prevent the ball crossing the line.
Lukebakio was heavily involved for the visitors, and with the half-hour mark approaching his cross picked out Arthur Theate who had a goalbound header tipped over the crossbar by the diving Robin Olsen. Having kept the pressure on, it was a case of second time lucky for Belgium 🇧🇪 shortly after when Lukebakio’s pinpoint cross found Romelu Lukaku, and the striker made no mistake by glancing a header home for his 69th international goal which ensured Belgium held the advantage at HT.
Sweden 🇸🇪 needed to start well after the break if they were to find a way back into the contest, however the exact opposite happened as Lukebakio danced around a couple of would-be tacklers before squaring to Lukaku who tapped the ball in from point-blank range to make it 2-0.
With just over 15 minutes remaining, Zlatan Ibrahimović was introduced from the bench to become the oldest player to feature in European qualifying, however his presence was not enough to inspire an unlikely Sweden 🇸🇪 comeback as Lukaku completed his hat-trick in the closing stages to add extra gloss to the scoreline. This victory means Belgium 🇧🇪 sit second in Group F behind Austria 🇦🇹, while Sweden 🇸🇪 will look to bounce back when they host Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 on Monday.
NairaLux Man of the Match: Romelu Lukaku (Belgium)
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