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Anderlecht trio pay tribute to Lukaku

Mbark Boussoufa, Olivier Deschacht and Roland Juhász all spoke glowingly about Belgian football's rising star Romelu Lukaku after the 16-year-old inspired a memorable RSC Anderlecht victory.

Anderlecht trio pay tribute to Lukaku
Anderlecht trio pay tribute to Lukaku ©UEFA.com

Mbark Boussoufa told UEFA.com he does not expect RSC Anderlecht to be able to replicate the free-flowing, entertaining football of their 5-1 aggregate victory against Athletic Club in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie with Hamburger SV.

Midfielder Boussoufa weighed in with two assists as Anderlecht fans enjoyed a special European night under the floodlights with a 4-0 second-leg win on Thursday. The Moroccan international said: "I think it was our best game in Europe this season. Hamburg will be tougher as they're a German team and they'll be more physical. Against Bilbao we were able to play as they left us the space."

It was a thrilling display of attacking football from the Belgian league leaders combining pace, physicality and technical accomplishment, and it was achieved against a team home captain Olivier Deschacht said "would be top if they played in the Belgian league".

Nothing summed up Anderlecht's night more than the game's opening goal after just four minutes with magnificent one-touch football seeing them spring forward from their own half. Boussoufa played the final pass to Belgian football's rising star Romelu Lukaku who displayed a maturity beyond his 16 years to check his run, beat the offside trap and finish powerfully between the legs of visiting goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz.

Lukaku, who is poised to become the third youngest Belgian international ever in next week's home friendly with Croatia, tormented Athletic all match and it was the teenager's cross just before the half-hour that was turned into his own net by Mikel San José.

Belgium coach Dick Advocaat is trying to relieve the hype surrounding Lukaku, saying people should not expect the new "Di Stéfano" but his team-mates are already aware of the Belgian league's top scorer's worth. Roland Juhász, the scorer of Anderlecht's third goal, told UEFA.com: "Lukaku played fantastically. He's just 16 years old but he's already a great player and he has a big future ahead of him, if not at Anderlecht then at one of the biggest clubs in Europe."

Deschacht added: "He's a fantastic striker. He wins a lot of 50-50s, he's fast and he scores goals. What more can I say and what more can you ask of him?" Boussoufa has developed a fine understanding with Lukaku and commented: "I always find it easy to find him on the pitch as he's always in front of me, showing for the ball. I'm happy for him and he scored a beautiful goal."

Should Hamburg's Ruud van Nistelrooy recover from a thigh strain in time to face Anderlecht then Lukaku will be able to measure his progress against a huge name who, at nearly 34, is over twice his age.