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Euro 2024 – Belgium 0-1 Slovakia: Romelu Lukaku Denied Twice By VAR As Red Devils Face Shock Defeat In Group E Opener


Much-fancied Belgium experienced a disappointing start to their Euro 2024 campaign, losing 1-0 to lower-ranked Slovakia in their Group E opener.

Ivan Schranz emerged as Slovakia’s hero by capitalizing on a Jeremy Doku error. He expertly guided the ball into the far corner from a tight angle after collecting a deflection from Juraj Kucka’s strike, a goal that withstood extensive VAR review.

Romelu Lukaku was not as fortunate. Belgium’s leading scorer had the ball in the back of the net twice in the second half, only for VAR to disallow both goals.

Attempting to make up for a wasteful first half, Lukaku was ruled offside by a toe when he slammed home Amadou Onana’s cross in the 56th minute. Later, he finished off a smart move by planting Lois Openda’s cross beyond Martin Dubravka in the final minute of regular time.

Initially, the latter goal appeared valid, but VAR quickly identified that the ball had inadvertently glanced off Openda’s hand during the build-up. Referee Halil Umut Meler, following a recommendation from the video official, reviewed the play and controversially denied Lukaku’s goal once more.

Domenico Tedesco’s side, although flat and frustrating for the most part, still managed to create four ‘big chances’—their most in a Euros game since 1980 against Spain. However, they were unable to breach Slovakia’s stubborn defense, leaving Slovakia to top Group E alongside Romania.

Slovakia now faces Ukraine on Friday, knowing that another win would secure their place in the last 16.

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