Belgium beats Russia 2-0 in friendly

Romelu Lukaku scored a goal in each half Wednesday as Belgium beat Russia 2-0 in a friendly.

Lille midfielder Eden Hazard capitalized on Igor Akinfeev’s blunder near Russia’s goal and crossed to Lukaku, who scored into an empty net just two minutes into the game.

For his second goal, the Anderlecht striker brought down a long pass from the center of the pitch with his chest to beat Akinfeev with a low left-footed shot from 11 meters in the 73rd minute.

Hazard, a constant threaten to the defense, had a chance in the 21st but his powerful shot from the edge of the box hit defender Sergei Ignashevich.

Russia pressed in the second half and had several clear chances in front of the sold-out crowd of 32,000 at Trud stadium in Voronezh, 540 kilometers (335 miles) south of Moscow.

It was only the third time that Russia hosted an international game outside Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Russia and Belgium are both bidding to host the World Cup in 2018.

In a move to prove its ability to host the event, about 10 million rubles ($330,000) was spent to renovate the stadium in Voronezh, home to a second-division team.

FIFA’s technical panel reported on Wednesday, that Russia faced challenges on providing transport infrastructure. The visitors were forced to spend a night in Moscow as dense fog prevented their plane from landing in Voronezh on Tuesday.

It takes at least eight hours for the fastest train to reach Voronezh from Moscow.


Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Roman Shishkin, Vasily Berezutsky (Viktor Vasin, 46), Sergei Ignashevich (Igor Semshov, 63), Yuri Zhirkov, Konstantin Zyryanov (Pavel Mamayev, 63), Roman Shirokov, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Alexander Bukharov, 74), Alan Dzagoyev, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Andrey Arshavin.

Belgium: Jean-Francois Gillet, Daniel Van Buyten, Vincent Kompany, Laurent Ciman, Timmy Simons, Steven Defour, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard (Sebastien Pocognoli, 90), Jan Vertonghen, Romelu Lukaku ( Jelle Vossen, 75), Moussa Dembele (Vadis Odjidja Ofoe, 89).