Eden Hazard scored twice and teed up his younger brother Thorgan for a goal as Belgium maintained their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifying with a 4-1 win in Russia.

Roberto Martinez's men made light work of a Russia side that went into the game on the back of seven consecutive victories in which they conceded just once.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov stood and watched as his defence was run ragged by the Hazard brothers and by Dries Mertens and Kevin De Bruyne, who controlled the game from midfield.

Romelu Lukaku scored the final goal of a victory that moves Belgium six points clear at the top of Group I with nine wins from nine games, Russia's consolation strike from Georgi Dzhikiya the only fly in the ointment for Martinez.

Lukaku's feet seemed to get stuck in the turf when Eden Hazard's pull-back found him unmarked in the box early on, but moments later Thorgan Hazard made amends after being played into the box by his older brother.

The Borussia Dortmund winger jinked inside Mario Fernandes before scoring with a clean strike that flew into the top corner of Guilherme's net.

Lukaku's well-judged knock-down presented the unmarked Eden Hazard with a chance to double Belgium's lead from the edge of the box and the Real Madrid man made no mistake, beating Guilherme for power with his clinical low drive.

Russia were pulled apart for the third, which arrived in the 40th minute when Mertens' weighted pass released De Bruyne, who strode through a huge gap in the hosts' defence and drew Guilherme before squaring to Eden Hazard for a simple finish.

Thorgan Hazard played Mertens in for what looked like a certain goal early in the second half but the Napoli man fired tamely at Guilherme before leaving the field clutching his hamstring.

The loss of Mertens did not stop Belgium from chasing a fourth, which came courtesy of Lukaku's surge across the edge of the box and a thunderous low finish from the Inter striker.

Thibaut Courtois could only parry Dmitry Kuzyaev's shot into the path of Dzhikiya 11 minutes from time, but his side-footed shot into the unguarded net did little to take the sheen off a fine Belgium win.


What does it mean? Deja vu for Cherchesov's men

Russia are the only side to score against Belgium in qualifying, with Denis Cheryshev's goal in a 3-1 defeat in March and Dzhikiya's consolation strike here the sum total conceded by a steely Belgium defence, and this game was not far from a repeat of the March encounter.

Russia caught in the Hazards

The constant endeavour of Thorgan and Eden Hazard down the Belgian left caused Russia problems throughout the first half and their lethal finishing all but settled the match.

Wasteful Dzyuba highlights Cheryshev absence

Russia could have been ahead after five minutes but Artem Dzyuba headed wide from six yards and committed a foul in the process, squandering his side's chance to take an early lead.

What's next?

Belgium entertain Cyprus in Brussels on Tuesday, while Russia travel to San Marino to face Group I's stragglers.

Romelu Lukaku claimed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to keep him at Manchester United, contradicting the Red Devils manager's claim he was happy to let the Belgian international join Inter in August.

Solskjaer told Sky Sports that starting the season a striker short due to Lukaku's departure was "the decision that I made and I made it happily", but Lukaku said there was a time when the move did not have the United boss' approval.

Inter paid United £74million on the final day of the Premier League transfer window in August, ending months of speculation over the striker's future.

But in an interview with Het Belang van Limburg, Lukaku said his departure was decided as early as March.

"Solskjaer has my eternal respect," said Lukaku.

"He understood me when I said in March that it was time for me to leave.

"I had been in the Premier League as an 18-year-old boy and now I am 26. Solskjaer wanted to keep me, but I was ready for something new."

I called game pic.twitter.com/cvxaifdV3w

— R.Lukaku Bolingoli9 (@RomeluLukaku9) November 2, 2019

Lukaku has scored nine goals in 12 Serie A appearances for Inter, but was subjected to racist abuse by Cagliari fans in September.

He said he knew what to expect when he arrived in Italy, and insisted he is enjoying his time in Milan.

"I knew it would happen," said Lukaku.

"I was prepared because I had spoken to other footballers about it.

"But I'm having a good time in Italy. The people on the street are very good to me and it's on that, that I want to focus."

Romelu Lukaku's two-goal showing for Inter at Bologna has earned him a place in the FUT Team of the Week, though Timo Werner's inclusion is arguably the most deserved of this week's selection.

Werner lit up the Bundesliga at the weekend with a hat-trick and a treble of assists in RB Leipzig's 8-0 demolition of Mainz, having a hand in all but two of Leipzig's goals in a remarkable win.

The Germany international became only the second player to be involved in six goals in a single Bundesliga match since detailed Opta data collection began in 2004-05 – the first being Claudio Pizarro with four goals and two assists in May 2013.

He is partnered in attack by Lukaku after his goals secured 2-1 comeback win on the road, while a forward-thinking back three includes Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt and Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Below, we examine the entire squad that is set to be up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 86

RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City) – 86

CB: Matthijs de Ligt (Piemonte Calcio/Juventus) – 86

LB: Alex Grimaldo (Benfica) – 85

LM: Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 84

CAM: Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao) – 84

CM: Luis Alberto (Lazio) – 86

LM: Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund) – 84

CAM: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) – 86

ST: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) – 85

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Inter) – 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Walter Benitez (Nice) – 83

CB: Chris Smalling (Roma) – 83

LB: Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors/Buenos Aires) – 82

RM: Fabian Orellana (Eibar) – 82

CAM: Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders) – 82

ST: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – 84

ST: Joao Pedro (Cagliari) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Harry Ashcroft (Finn Harps) – 69

ST: Camillo Ciano (Frosinone) – 80

CM: John Lundstram (Sheffield United) – 76

ST: Mohamed Buya Turay (Djurgardens) – 77

ST: Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Tranmere Rovers) – 71

Inter head coach Antonio Conte believes his side's fighting spirit will help sustain their efforts to challenge Juventus for the Serie A title.

Conte's side came back from a goal down at Bologna on Saturday to clinch a 2-1 victory which kept the pressure up on defending champions Juventus.

Romelu Lukaku secured the points for Inter with an injury-time penalty after he had earlier cancelled out Roberto Soriano's opening goal for the hosts, moving Conte's men top and two points clear of Juve, who have played a match less.

Conte told Sky Sport Italia: "Our objective was to become credible, to emerge with a shirt soaked through with sweat. We are achieving that.

"I knew that this job was a very, very difficult challenge for me in many ways.

"I like to seek out something tough, as my history speaks for itself, I always arrived in critical moments for top clubs and with hard work took them back to where they deserved.

"I did that at Juventus and at Chelsea, I hope with hard work to do the same at Inter.

"What makes me happy is working with a group of great lads who give everything and today they didn't let their heads drop or negative thinking to set in.

"The lads showed great inner strength to fight back and turn it around. We can be proud of what we're achieving this season."

Conte has urged his players to simply ignore Juventus' results and instead only concentrate efforts on what they can influence.

"We need to focus on ourselves and not think about what anyone else is doing," Conte said.

"We must work on improving ourselves and sending these signs to above all our fans.

"It's an excellent sign, because it can be too easy to judge when things are going well.

"A team that reacts to difficulties and turns them into a victory is a great sign."

Conte was also impressed with the manner in which Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez linked up.

Belgium international Lukaku took his tally to nine goals in 11 Serie A matches for Inter with that brace.

Although Martinez did not get on the scoresheet, his rapport with Lukaku on the pitch caught the eye.

"Potentially they can be the Inter partnership for another 10 years," added Conte.

"I had studied Lautaro a little before coming here. He is a centre-forward, but at the same time also a second striker, so he's atypical.

"Lukaku is an unusual striker too, because he has this physicality of a centre-forward, but if you give him space to run into, he is devastatingly fast.

"Above all I'm happy with the work they are both doing off the ball."

Romelu Lukaku was Inter's hero, converting an injury-time penalty for his second goal of the game as Antonio Conte's men came from behind to beat Bologna 2-1 at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Despite enjoying the better of the first half, title-chasing Inter looked set to drop points when Roberto Soriano opened the scoring in the 59th minute, courtesy of a shot that took a deflection off Stefan de Vrij.

However, Lukaku pulled the Nerazzurri level with 15 minutes remaining, pouncing to convert a rebound from a tight angle.

And the striker held his nerve from the penalty spot to secure three points after strike partner Lautaro Martinez had been clumsily fouled by Riccardo Orsolini.

Bologna's players and coaching staff were left furious by the decision to award Inter a spot-kick, soon after former Inter forward Rodrigo Palacio had seen an appeal of his own turned down at the other end, but Inter will not care after they claimed their ninth win from 11 league games to reclaim top spot ahead of Juventus' clash with Torino.

Antonio Conte fears Inter's hectic schedule could eventually catch up with his team despite the Nerazzurri moving top of Serie A on Tuesday.

Inter leapfrogged Juventus by two points atop the summit, albeit having played a game more, after beating Brescia 2-1 thanks to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku at Stadio Rigamonti. 

However, head coach Conte – who is without the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Stefano Sensi due to injury – admitted his concerns about Inter running out of steam amid a busy domestic and European schedule. 

"It becomes difficult to talk about the game, because the same players are out there constantly. They struggled to an extraordinary degree," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"It was our fourth game in nine days, with the same players. Any situation or result is acceptable at that point. All we can do is thank them for the spirit they showed to hang in until the end.

"Now we're only halfway there, as we have another game with Bologna, then Borussia Dortmund and we'll have seven games in 20 days before we get to rest. It's an anomaly and I haven't seen any other side with a fixture list like that, so it seemed very strange to me.

"Some games you need to win just by suffering. They must understand that for many reasons, as for example the hosts are pushing to turn the result around, you have to soak up the pressure, hang in there and I challenge anyone to play four games in nine days while getting a victory at Brescia."

Conte added: "We're top of the table, but pushing the engine to the max and it can't go much longer."

Martinez made it seven club goals for the campaign but conceded it was a tough night for Inter, who were made to sweat following Milan Skriniar's late own goal.

"It was difficult, a very intense game against a team that moves very well," Martinez told Sky Sport Italia.

"We knew that it was going to be tough to take the three points here, but we tried to impose our football, knowing full well Brescia would clam up and defend.

"Some fatigue is natural, as we play with a great deal of intensity every three days, so that needs a lot of physical effort. We are nonetheless happy with the work we're doing for our coach.

"As always, we take it one game at a time, know we are doing very well and it's important to once again return from an away fixture with three points."

Antonio Conte said he is worried about injuries affecting his Inter squad in the coming weeks after his side were held to a 2-2 draw by Parma.

Kwadwo Asamoah and Stefan de Vrij were left out of Conte's starting line-up at San Siro, where goals in either half from Antonio Candreva and Romelu Lukaku helped to earn the Nerazzurri a point.

The result leaves Inter a point behind Serie A leaders Juventus, who drew 1-1 with Lecce earlier in the day, and Conte expressed his concerns in the midst of a busy fixture schedule.

Inter play their next three games away at Brescia, Bologna and Borussia Dortmund in the space of eight days, and Conte told Sky Sports: "This was our third game in six days. We play more or less the same again and we will have difficulties.

"We are not calm about this. We have four other games in a short time.

"De Vrij had a problem with his adductor and Asamoah with his knee. It becomes difficult to play in two competitions with a squad reduced to the minimum."

Conte is without Alexis Sanchez until after Christmas due to a foot tendon problem and he will monitor the fitness of Danilo D'Ambrosio and Stefano Sensi as they recover from injuries over the coming weeks.

The Inter boss picked out 20-year-old defender Alessandro Bastoni, who started against Parma, and 17-year-old forward Sebastiano Esposito as focal points of Inter's future plans, but indicated that he would consult with the club's board to establish a plan for his squad given the growing list of absentees.

"We must make assessments with the club and understand where we can do better," said Conte.

"I understand that it is part of a growth project, and we are also focusing on young people like Bastoni and Esposito and we need to be patient, but I am worried anyway."

Parma forward Yann Karamoh scored one and set up another on his San Siro return to help his side earn a 2-2 draw and deny Inter top spot in Serie A.

Juventus dropped points for just the second time this season in their 1-1 draw with Lecce earlier on Saturday but Inter, despite taking the lead, could not take full advantage.

Karamoh, whose loan to Parma from the Nerazzurri is set to become permanent at the end of the season, cancelled out Antonio Candreva's fortuitous opener and set up Gervinho to put Parma ahead in the 30th minute. 

Romelu Lukaku equalised early in the second half despite being in an offside position in the build-up - his sixth Serie A goal awarded after a lengthy VAR check - but Inter could not find a winner and remain a point adrift of leaders Juve.

No Serie A side had scored more first-half goals this season than Inter prior to kick-off and they were ahead inside 23 minutes - Candreva's half-volley from the edge of the box deflecting off Kastriot Dermaku to leave Luigi Sepe wrong-footed.

The visitors responded in style as Karamoh pounced on a loose pass from Marcelo Brozovic, carried the ball forward and picked out the top-left corner with a stunning strike.

Gervinho put Parma in front four minutes later following another sloppy ball from Brozovic, which Karamoh again profited from by surging forward and picking out his team-mate for a low finish from 10 yards.

Inter were back on level terms six minutes into the second half through Lukaku's close-range finish, the goal allowed to stand despite the Belgian standing in an illegal position when Brozovic played in Candreva to tee him up.

Gervinho was denied by Samir Handanovic and Karamoh also had an effort kept out as Parma refused to give up, but the match finished all square

 

Antonio Conte has commended the hard-working selflessness of Inter's in-form forwards and believes more of the same will help Lautaro Martinez realise his "immense" potential.

Argentina international Martinez has struck up a strong understanding with new strike partner Romelu Lukaku, as seen in Sunday's thrilling 4-3 victory over Sassuolo.

The forwards scored twice each in a devastating double act as the Nerazzurri secured a seventh win in eight Serie A games.

Martinez won the penalty for Lukaku's second goal and converted a spot-kick of his own in the second half after his team-mate gave up the chance to complete a hat-trick.

It is that sort of attitude that has impressed head coach Conte.

"I think Lukaku is a real team player," the Inter boss told a news conference on Tuesday.

"He celebrates his goals with the players and the bench. The press go from criticising to praising too quickly. I look at the performance, not just the numbers.

"I am very pleased with Lukaku. He has settled in well and impressed. We are a good group.

"As for Lautaro, he needs to keep working – that is what he has to focus on. Head down and pedal, as I say. Goals are important but that is not everything for a forward.

"He needs to work hard for the team, as he is doing. I like that he plays for the team. He is setting up goals and scoring.

"He has areas to work on, but he has immense potential."

Conte will hope Lukaku and Martinez can fire his team back into contention for a place in the Champions League knockout rounds when they entertain Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

Inter know anything less than three points would make qualification from Group F, which also contains Barcelona, a tall order.

Conte wants his side to get on the front foot at San Siro in spite of their suspect defending against Sassuolo.

"We will take the game to them," he said.

"We have our ideas and way we want to play. We know there will be risks, but we are a side that will look to take the initiative."

Romelu Lukaku described Inter coach Antonio Conte as a team player after rushing to the bench to celebrate a goal with his boss in the Nerazzurri's 4-3 victory at Sassuolo.

Conte called for Lukaku to "train more" after Inter lost two consecutive matches going into the international break, and the former Manchester Untied striker underlined his commitment to meet his coach's demands after netting a brace at MAPEI Stadium.

After goals at either end in the opening 16 minutes, Lukaku struck twice to put Inter 3-1 up at half-time against Sassuolo and Lautaro Martinez added a fourth to ensure the hosts' late rally came to nothing.

Belgium international Lukaku, who scored twice in his country's win over San Marino 10 days earlier, told DAZN: "It ought to have been over at 4-1.

"We did everything right in the first half, should have scored more in the second. Once it goes to 3-1 and 4-1, it ought to be over.

"The positive we take is that we got the three points, but we need to defend better than that. I try to help the team throughout the game and am happy for the side, because it was very important to get this win."

Lukaku has scored five goals in eight Serie A appearances for Inter since joining the club for €65million in August.

He is almost half way to matching his league tally of 12 for Manchester United last season but wants to make further improvements to his game at his new club.

"Conte and I are both team players, so when I score a goal, I want to celebrate with everyone," said the 26-year-old.

"I am focused only on working and giving my best in every match.

"I'm fine, but I have to work even more to help the team throughout the game. But today I'm happy because the victory was important for the group. Now I just think about improving again."

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez combined brilliantly as Inter survived a late Sassuolo recovery to win 4-3 at Mapei Stadium on Sunday.

Defeat to Juventus before the international break shunted Antonio Conte's men down to second in Serie A but a superb performances from their front two trimmed the margin at the top back to a point.

Martinez made an early incision and Lukaku struck twice in seven minutes to establish a two-goal advantage at half-time, Domenico Berardi having fleetingly restored parity for the hosts.

The exceptional Martinez won the penalty for his strike partner's second and, in the 71st minute, dispatched a spot-kick of his own, although the visitors were made to fight for victory as substitutes Filip Djuricic and Jeremie Boga set up a grandstand finale.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed he would still score 20 goals a season in Serie A as he talked up his chances of a return to Italy's top flight.

But Ibrahimovic labelled former club AC Milan "a disaster" in a wide-ranging interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, while also poking fun at Inter forward Romelu Lukaku's first touch.

Former Sweden striker Ibrahimovic was discussing his options for a next move as his LA Galaxy contract expires in December following the MLS playoffs.

The 38-year-old has been linked with a return to Manchester United, but he suggested Serie A, where he represented Juventus and both Milan clubs, might be his preferred destination.

"I am 38 years old and have the enthusiasm of a kid, with that same desire to win. That, for me, is everything," Ibrahimovic said.

"Italy is my second home. I will listen to all offers, but I want to fight for the maximum target. If I were to come back, I'd want to challenge for the Scudetto, not just be signed by someone because I am Ibrahimovic.

"I can still make the difference. I'm not a zoo animal to be put on display for people to see. I can still get 20 goals in Serie A."

Milan, who are 13th in Serie A with nine points from seven matches, would not appear to be an option, though, and Ibrahimovic picked out Paolo Maldini for criticism.

"Milan are a disaster. They're all talk and no action," he said.

"This is not the club everyone fell in love with, in Italy and all over the world. Perhaps there are too many wrong people who should be elsewhere.

"Paolo Maldini doesn't have what it takes to be a director, whereas in his playing career he was one of my all-time favourites."

Meanwhile, the striker revealed a mooted bet with former team-mate Lukaku, whose touch was maligned by some supporters during his time at United.

Ibrahimovic explained: "At Manchester United, we made a bet, 'I'll give you £50 for every decent first touch you make'. He replied: 'What do I win if I get them all right?'

"I told him nothing, he would simply become a better player. For the record, he never accepted the bet! Perhaps he was afraid of losing."

Mauro Icardi rejected criticism of Romelu Lukaku's performances since joining Inter and expects the Belgium striker to find form for the Nerazzuri.

Lukaku has replaced Icardi at the head of the Inter attack, signing a five-year contract with the Serie A club in a reported €80million transfer from Manchester United in August.

He has scored only three goals in eight appearances but Icardi, who last month left Inter for Paris Saint-Germain in a loan deal that can be made permanent, does not believe Lukaku has endured a poor start to life in Italian football.

"It doesn't seem to me that he's experiencing a moment of difficulty," Icardi told Gazzetta dello Sport. "In fact, I think he's started well, scoring a couple of goals immediately.

"It's not easy for anyone to play in Italy. Serie A is the most defensive championship in Europe.

"Maybe he needs a little more time to settle in, but he's already scored a lot of goals in his career. And he will do it again."

Icardi is not focused on what his future may hold, instead concentrating solely on his form for PSG. The Argentina international has scored two goals in four games for the defending Ligue 1 champions.

"This year, I'm at PSG and my goal is to give my best for this shirt," Icardi added,

"Then at the end of the season, around May or June, we'll see what happens. It's still too early to say anything."

Belgium became the first team to secure qualification for Euro 2020 with a huge 9-0 win at home to minnows San Marino.

Romelu Lukaku's 50th international goal broke the deadlock in Brussels on Thursday, and the striker set up Nacer Chadli for the second before Cristian Brolli's own goal made it 3-0.

Lukaku struck again, Andrea Grandoni deflected in Toby Alderweireld's shot and Youri Tielemans scored ahead of the interval, after which Roberto Martinez's side took their foot off the gas.

Christian Benteke, Yari Verschaeren and Timothy Castagne wrapped up the scoring and, with seven wins out of seven in Group I, Belgium are guaranteed to finish in the top two and can look forward to the European Championship.

Despite dominating, it took Belgium until the 28th minute to open the scoring, goalkeeper Simone Benedettini having had little to do amid a flurry of off-target efforts.

But when San Marino lost the ball in their own half, Lukaku and Tielemans swapped passes, with the Inter striker rifling in a powerful finish at the near post.

Benedettini was soon beaten twice again, Eden Hazard and Lukaku combining to set up Chadli for a curling 20-yard finish before Brolli unfortunately scored into his own goal.

A deflected drive from Lukaku and Grandoni's own goal from Alderweireld's shot preceded a fine strike from Tielemans that made it 6-0 before half-time as San Marino's early defensive resilience crumbled.

Dries Mertens hit the post on the hour mark as the tempo slowed to walking pace and Lukaku missed chances to claim the match ball before his substitution.

Lukaku's replacement Benteke struck with a shot from the edge of the box that deceived the luckless Benedettini before 18-year-old Verschaeren converted a penalty he won himself to score his first international goal.

Castagne smashed home a late ninth for the hosts, but San Marino were at least able to avoid conceding double figures as Benedettini denied Benteke in added time.


What does it mean? Euro 2020 planning starts now for Martinez

As the first team to book their place at the finals, Roberto Martinez can start thinking ahead to Belgium's campaign in next year's tournament. The top-ranked team in the world, Belgium will be expected to go far.

For San Marino, this game was always about retaining as much pride as possible. The last time they avoided defeat was back in 2014, when they earned a 0-0 draw at home to Estonia.


Record scorer Lukaku looks sharp

Already the top Belgium goalscorer of all time, Lukaku was bright in attack to continue his fine start to the season, having impressed with Inter since leaving Manchester United. Belgium initially found it hard to break down San Marino before Lukaku found a way through, pinching the ball back for his side and smashing in the opener.


Mertens fails to make his mark

San Marino at home should have been a golden chance for Napoli forward Mertens to add to his international tally. But he was barely involved, hitting the woodwork with a rare effort before he made way for teenager Verschaeren midway through the second half.


What's next?

Martinez is likely to rotate his Belgium squad for Sunday's trip to Kazakhstan. San Marino travel to Scotland on the same day.

Inter head coach Antonio Conte said star striker Romelu Lukaku must train more to be in great shape due to his physique.

Lukaku experienced a quiet game as Inter suffered a 2-1 loss to Serie A rivals Juventus in the Derby d'Italia at San Siro on Sunday.

A club-record signing from Manchester United before the transfer window shut, Lukaku returned to the line-up after missing Wednesday's Champions League defeat against Barcelona due to a muscular problem.

Asked about Lukaku, Conte told reporters: "Romelu is definitely a player that must train more, because being a player with a massive body he needs to train, to play, to be in great shape.

"In this beginning of the season he had this back issue, now he's been dealing with this other quadricep issue since the game against Lazio.

"But I think he gave everything, it's inevitable that against Barcelona we didn't have Lukaku and it was important to have him. And we didn't have him. 

"However, Romelu as well was very committed today, he tried to do his best, and now let's hope he can leave these little issues behind him and be at his 100 per cent."

Lukaku has scored three goals for Inter since arriving from United for a fee understood to be €80million (£73m) in August.

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