Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium claim much-needed win over Republic of Ireland on Saturday.

Belgium celebrate
Alex Witsel was on target with his first international goal since 2014. The win saw Belgium rise to second in Group E, with Ireland bottom.

Belgium’s victory in Bordeaux was also a welcome return to form by the Red Devils following a disappointing first match in Group E against Italy, which it lost 2-0.

Having wasted a series of chances in the first half, Belgium – one of the favorites to win the European Championship – started the second half strongly and it wasn’t long before the team went ahead.

Lukaku struck in the 48th minute after a swift counterattack that owed much to Kevin De Bruyne’s burst down the right flank. Lukaku controlled De Bruyne’s square pass before driving the ball low into the bottom left corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Axel Witsel doubled the score in the 61st, when he jumped above Ireland midfielder James McCarthy to crisply head in Thomas Meunier’s cross for his first international goal in nearly two years.

In an attempt to claw back the arrears, Ireland took a more attacking posture, but the team was once again caught out by a pacey Belgian counterattack. Eden Hazard raced down the right from inside his own half before squaring for Lukaku, who slotted the ball past Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph in the 70th.

Witsel was named man of the match.