Impact sub gives Belgium win in Euro warm-up


Brussels (AFP) – Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman came off the bench to score the winner as Belgium came from behind to beat Norway 3-2 in their final pre-Euro 2016 friendly on Sunday.

Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard had earlier netted for the home side in Brussels either side of goals for Norway from Joshua King and Veton Berisha.

The result allowed Marc Wilmots’ side to complete a largely positive build-up to the European Championship on the field, following a 2-1 victory in Switzerland and a 1-1 draw at home to Finland.

The Belgians, who are in Group E at the Euros along with Italy, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden, have however seen their preparations for the finals hit by injuries to key players in defence.

But their attacking threat is not in question, and Everton striker Lukaku — whose brother Jordan started at left-back — opened the scoring at the King Baudouin Stadium inside three minutes with a thumping shot from the edge of the box.

However, Norway, who fell short in qualifying for the finals in France, drew level through the Bournemouth forward King midway through the first half and a terrific effort from Berisha put them ahead early in the second half.

Belgium’s equaliser arrived 20 minutes from time as Lukaku found Kevin De Bruyne and his cross from the right was headed in by Hazard at the near post.

Three minutes after that Belgium got the winner, Toby Alderweireld helping on a corner by substitute Dries Mertens for Ciman to convert.

It was a first international goal for Ciman, the former Standard Liege defender who moved to MLS last year.

His contribution provided a boost to Wilmots, who has lost skipper Vincent Kompany as well as fellow defenders Bjorn Engels, Nicolas Lombaerts and Dedryck Boyata to injury.

Thomas Vermaelen, the Barcelona centre-back, also missed the Norway clash with a muscle strain.

Belgium open their Euro bid against Italy in Lyon next Monday.

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