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Lukaku lights Anderlecht touchpaper

RSC Anderlecht 4-0 Athletic Club (agg: 5-1)
An early goal from 16-year-old Romelu Lukaku paved the way for a stirring victory, with the Belgian side to face Hamburger SV in the last 16.

Lukaku lights Anderlecht touchpaper
Lukaku lights Anderlecht touchpaper ©UEFA.com

RSC Anderlecht turned on the style to set up a UEFA Europa League round of 16 clash with final hosts Hamburger SV after a 4-0 home win sealed a stunning 5-1 aggregate demolition of Athletic Club.

The tie was delicately poised after a 1-1 draw in Spain last week but Athletic were blown away by an early strike from Anderlecht's teenage star Romelu Lukaku, an own goal by Mikel San José and second half goals from Roland Juhász and Jonathan Legear.

The 16-year-old Lukaku, in line to make his Belgium debut in a friendly against Croatia next week, was too hot to handle for the Bilbao side's defence in a dramatic opening to the game. A powerful strike through the legs of visiting goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz after four minutes was the culmination of a wonderful team goal begun in Anderlecht's own half with the delicate final ball supplied by Mbark Boussoufa.

Lukaku's influence was decisive in his side's second goal as he led left-back Xabier Castillo a merry dance before hammering in a low near-post cross which San José succeeded only in diverting into his own net with Iraizoz rooted to the spot.

San José headed narrowly over for Athletic before half-time but they rarely threatened Silvio Proto's goal. Visiting resistance was broken shortly after half-time - ensuring there would be no first post-Christmas European win for Athletic since 1977 - when Juhász determinedly reached Legear's inswinging free kick from the left to turn the ball in from close range. Only a smart stop from Iraizoz prevented Boussoufa from adding another from a sublime Lucas Biglia pass.

Lukaku had been substituted to a richly-deserved standing ovation and celebrated from the bench as Legear crashed the fourth goal into the far corner from 25 metres after Boussoufa has rolled a free-kick into his fellow midfielder's path.