Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Belgium 0-1 Slovakia: VAR twice frustrates Lukaku as Red Devils suffer shock defeat

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Jun 2024

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Romelu Lukaku saw two goals disallowed and Belgium squandered a glut of golden opportunities as Slovakia claimed a surprise 1-0 win in Euro 2024 Group E.

Lukaku twice thought he had restored parity in the second half, only for both goals to be ruled out after VAR checks.

Slovakia led from the seventh minute, with Ivan Schranz having thumped the underdogs into the lead with what was his nation’s fastest goal at a major tournament, finishing calmly from a tight angle after Jeremy Doku’s error had put Belgium in trouble.

That opener came after Belgium had missed two brilliant chances, with Lukaku not managing to beat Martin Dubravka from close range before Leandro Trossard failed to find the striker in acres of space in the area.

The trend continued after the restart – Lukaku seemed to have levelled when he tapped home from Amadou Onana’s knockdown, only for a VAR check to deem he had strayed offside.

Johan Bakayoko had an effort cleared off the line before Lukaku drilled in from Lois Openda’s cutback late on, only for the latter to be penalised harshly for handball as the world’s third-best side suffered a shock defeat.

Data Debrief: Red Devils run out of Luk

Lukaku missed a glut of chances in the quarter-finals against Spain at Euro 2020, and he was guilty of spurning some fantastic chances, though he was also incredibly unfortunate to see those two goals ruled out.

Belgium mustered 1.9 expected goals, with Lukaku responsible for 0.8 of that, but the Red Devils’ luck was out. They sit third in Group E, with Slovakia joining Romania on three points after causing the first big upset of Euro 2024.

It is the first time Belgium have lost since 27 November 2022, against Morocco in the group stage of the World Cup, marking an end to their second-longest unbeaten run ever of 15 matches (W10 D5).

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