There wasn’t much of a reason for Everton fans to tune into Belgium’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier against Russia on Thursday night. After all, there were no Toffees players in the starting XI of either side at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels.
But there was Artem Dzyuba. The experienced Zenit St Petersburg target man led the line for Russia in the Belgian capital with reports from RT claiming that he recently caught the eye of an Everton team crying out for a forward with his presence and goalscoring nous.
Now, Dzyuba wasn’t on the scoresheet as Russia deservedly lost 3-1 to a Belgium side inspired by the majesty of Eden Hazard.
But he was at the centre of the game’s biggest flash point – a hugely embarrassing blunder from Rote Duivels goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The former Chelsea number one joined Real Madrid for £35 million last summer (The Mirror) but he has endured a miserable first season at the Bernabau. And the last thing he needed was to stumble on the ball under pressure from Dzyuba and gift possession to Denis Cheryshev inside his one penalty area.
The Valencia forward gobbled up the chance gleefully and left Courtois red faced. And Dzyuba, who worked so hard without reward for most of the night, deserves plenty of plaudits for his opportunist approach.
If Everton renew their interest, they will be getting a selfless goal poacher who doesn't give the opposition a moments piece.
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