Lukaku emulates Shearer as fine Europa League scoring run continues

Romelu Lukaku Inter 2019-20Getty Images

Inter forward Romelu Lukaku jumped off the bench to net late against Ludogorets on Thursday, extending in the process his sterling record in the Europa League. 

Having finished third in their Champions League group behind Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, Antonio Conte's men were drawn in the last 32 against the Bulgarian champions. 

And they found it hard going early on in the first leg in Razgrad, going into half-time tied at 0-0. 

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Christian Eriksen finally opened the scoring after 71 minutes with his first goal in Inter colours, with substitute Lukaku entering the fray shortly beforehand to replace Lautaro Martinez. 

The former Manchester United man would ensure that Inter take a healthy advantage to San Siro for the return, converting a penalty deep into injury time to seal his side's 2-0 win on the road. 

Not only did Lukaku's strike put Inter into a commanding position in the tie, but it also continued his scoring run in Europe's secondary club competition that began more than five years ago. 

The Belgian's streak started in the 2014-15 group stage while at Everton, when he opened the scoring in a 2-0 win over Wolfsburg. 

He was subsequently rested for the final group match with the Toffees already assured of first place, but came back to score in all four of their last-32 and 16 matches as they overcame Young Boys before falling to Dynamo Kyiv. 

Thursday marked the sixth consecutive Europa League match in which he has troubled the scorers, a run that has yielded a total of nine goals. 

Newcastle United and England legend Alan Shearer, who scored in eight straight UEFA Cup games, was the last man to boast a better record back in 2005.

While Lukaku and Inter will hope to prolong their stay in Europe beyond the last 32, domestic matters remain top priority around San Siro. 

The Nerazzurri find themselves locked into a to-and-fro title challenge with Juventus and Lazio, with last weekend's defeat to the latter pushing Conte's men down to third, albeit just three points behind the reigning Scudetto holders.