Lukaku finally makes big-game breakthrough for Manchester United

The striker's goal against Chelsea on Sunday was his first for the Red Devils against a side in the top eight of the Premier League

Romelu Lukaku finally made a splash against top-tier opposition for Manchester United, netting a first-half equaliser in a 2-1 win over former club Chelsea at Old Trafford.

Belgium striker Lukaku came into the fixture against the Blues with 21 goals in all competitions; but not one was netted in 10 previous matches against the top eight teams in the Premier League.

Such a barren run has led to criticism of the former Everton man, but manager Jose Mourinho kept faith in his centre-forward and was rewarded on Sunday with a vital strike.

Lukaku latched onto a neat flick from Anthony Martial in the 39th minute to cancel out Willian's powerful opener and send the sides in for half-time level at 1-1.

That equaliser paved the way for United to claim all three points, with Jesse Lingard netting a 75th-minute winner before the Red Devils held off a wave of Chelsea attacks in the dying moments.

Lukaku now has 13 goals in 27 Premier League appearances since joining the Red Devils in a £75 million summer move from Everton, with another four strikes in FA Cup action and five in European play.

The 24-year-old finds himself tied with Roberto Firmino and Jamie Vardy in fifth in the Premier League scoring charts, 11 goals behind leader Harry Kane.

Sunday's strike came against a Chelsea side Lukaku played for from 2011 to 2014, though the Belgium international failed to get on the scoresheet in just 10 Premier League appearances for the Blues.

United have now won two of their past three matches against Chelsea — one more than they had managed in their previous 14 meetings.

The victory lifted United past Liverpool to second in the Premier League table, 13 points back of rivals and league leaders Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

Mourinho's men next face Crystal Palace on March 5 before hosting Liverpool five days later. The Red Devils resume Champions League play on March 13, when they host Sevilla in a last-16 second leg after playing to a scoreless draw in the opener.

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