Lukaku leads Belgium past Switzerland with a brace

Switzerland's Edimilson Fernandes, left, vies for the ball with Belgium's Dries Mertens during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, vies for the ball with Belgium's Vincent Kompany during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Belgium won 2-1. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Belgium players celebrate after teammate Romelu Lukaku scored their side's first goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Belgium's Eden Hazard, right, vies for the ball with Switzerland's Michael Lang during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, right, celebrates with teammate Vincent Kompany after scoring his side's second goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Switzerland players leave the pitch at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Belgium won 2-1. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Switzerland's Mario Gavranovic celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Switzerland players celebrate after teammate Mario Gavranovic scored their side's first goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, second right, scores past Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer, left, his side's second goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Belgium's Axel Witsel, left,Thomas Meunier, centre and Dedryck Boyata celebrate at the end of the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Belgium won 2-1. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, right, vies for the abll with Belgium's Thomas Meunier during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Switzerland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

BRUSSELS — Romelu Lukaku scored both goals in Belgium's 2-1 win over Switzerland on Friday, putting the Red Devils in the lead of its group in the UEFA Nations League.

The Swiss defended strongly throughout the match, but Lukaku converted two chances of three to give top-ranked Belgium the victory.

The result left Belgium with six points from two games in Group 2 of the top-tier League A, three points more than Switzerland. Iceland lost its two matches.

Already Belgium's all-time goal scorer, Lukaku reached 45 goals in 78 international appearances.

After a smooth move started by Eden Hazard in the 58th minute, the ball ended up with the Manchester United striker and he hit home from about 12 meters (yards).

Switzerland proved resilient after conceding the goal. In the 76th, Xherdan Shaqiri curled a free kick into the box and substitute Mario Gavranovic easily slotted home from close range after the Belgian defense failed to clear.

It came down to Lukaku to break the deadlock with six minutes left. He kept a cool head in the box and finished low through the center for the decider.

"It was tough," Hazard said. "Two great goals."

___

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