Lukaku nets 2 as Belgium beats Estonia in WCup qualifying

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Romelu Lukaku scored twice as top-ranked Belgium came from an early goal down to beat Estonia 5-2 in World Cup qualifying on Thursday and stay atop Group E.

Estonia midfielder Mattias Käit put the hosts ahead in the second minute but the heavily favored Red Devils were quick to turn things around.

Captain Eden Hazard crossed for midfielder Hans Vanaken to head in an equalizer 20 minutes later. Lukaku then proved unstoppable again as he put the visitors in control.

He first put Belgium ahead in the 29th and then made it 3-1 in the 52nd to take his international tally to 66 goals. Axel Witsel and substitute Thomas Foket added one apiece before Estonia substitute Erik Sorga pulled a late goal back.

With 10 points from four games, Belgium retained a three-point lead in the group ahead of the Czech Republic, which defeated Belarus 1-0. Belgium has scored 17 goals in the campaign, the most of all European teams. Wales and Belarus are on three points while Estonia is pointless.

Czech Republic coach Jaroslav Silhavy missed a number of starters, above all key striker Patrik Schick who was suspended after receiving a red card in a 1-0 loss at Wales in another World Cup qualifier in March.

Martin Doležal from provincial Czech club Jablonec made his full debut up front but it was Verona midfielder Antonín Barák who rescued the hosts with a first-half goal.

Belgium hosts the Czechs in Brussels on Sunday. Only the group winners directly qualify for next year’s tournament in Qatar.

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