Romelu Lukaku helped Belgium ease to victory against 10-man Azerbaijan in Euro 2024 qualifying with four first-half goals.
Lukaku, who is currently on loan with AS Roma from Chelsea, has gone 50 goals clear of Belgium’s second top scorer, Eden Hazard, courtesy of four goals against their visitors. This takes his tally to 83 goals in 113 Belgium games. He is now the seventh-highest scorer in men’s international football history.
The 31-year-old opened his goals account with a header from Jeremy Doku’s cross before Eddy Israfilov was sent off.
He then got his brace from Timothy Castagne’s knockdown and nodded in Wout Faes’ cross. He completed his hat trick when he scored from Orel Mangala’s ball.
Lukaku was later rested at half-time since Belgium seemingly have the maximum points in the bag.
They made it five late in the game through Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard, who converted from Doku’s ball.
This was Lukaku’s first international quadruple. The last time he scored four goals in a single was during his stint with Everton in their 6-3 Premier League win over Bournemouth in February 2017.
He is just a goal behind Ferenc Puskas. Topping the chart are
Cristiano Ronaldo (128, Portugal), Ali Daei (109, Iran), Lionel Messi (106, Argentina), Sunil Chhetri (93, India), Mokhtar Dahari (89, Malaysia) and Ferenc Puskas (84, Hungary).
The Belgium captain has also scored 14 goals in qualifying, which puts him far clear of closest challengers Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe, who scored 10 and nine, respectively, in this campaign.
With 14 goals scored, he has beaten the record of 13 set by Northern Ireland’s David Healy in 2008 and equalled by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in 2016.
The Red Devils are already part of the team going to Germany in 2024. They have overtaken Austria to finish at the top of Group F with this victory.
Written by Oladipupo Mojeed