The highly-rated hitman struck a brace to defeat the Eastern Europeans in their own territory...A deadly double from emerging talent Romelu Lukaku helped Belgium to a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Russia this afternoon.
The Anderlecht striker scored early in the contest before a wonderful individual effort sealed the victory and condemned Dick Advocaat's team to a home defeat.
The hosts suffered the worst possible start to the match, falling behind after just two minutes, and it was a horrible aberration from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
The CSKA Moscow stopper attempted to exchange passes with defender Shiskin, but proceeded to pass the ball straight to Eden Hazard. He took full advantage, driving his cross over to Lukaku who had the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into the empty net.
Advocaat's team had withstand further pressure from the impressive, youthful Belgians who went close to doubling their advantage through Jan Vertonghen and Marouane Fellaini.
As the half wore on the Eastern Europeans upped a gear. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov almost found the net with a superb lob, while Alan Dzagoev's control evaded him when in a dangerous position. But high-profile Arsenal striker Andrey Arshavin proved to be off-form, squandering two opportunities by selecting the wrong pass in advanced positions.The front three of the visiting side though were insatiable, particularly the effervescent Hazard, who, despite blotting his copy book with a blatant dive for which he earned a caution, constantly had the Russians on the back foot with his pace and direct running. Indeed, he should have added a second, but fluffed his lines when the ball reached him at the edge of the area.
The memorable moment of the match was reserved for 17-year-old Lukaku. He latched on to a long ball from Timmy Simons, to use brute strength to easily shrug off his marker and lash the ball into the net. It was a fantastic finish, and one that clinched an impressive win for a Belgium team that holds much promise.
Russia will reflect on too many inadequate performances from their big names, but for the Red Devils, the represents a massive coup for this team who are developing together under Georges Leekens.