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Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 12 May 2021

VIDEO: All the goals as Ireland's upcoming opponents Belgium win thriller

Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Laurent Ciman were on target in the win.

Hazard and Lukaku celebrate.
Hazard and Lukaku celebrate.

BELGIUM LAUNCHED A stirring fightback to defeat Norway 3-2 as their preparation for Euro 2016 ended on a high in Brussels.

Romelu Lukaku scored his fourth goal in as many games for his country in the third minute, but Joshua King levelled midway through the opening period.

Veton Berisha put Norway ahead fewer than three minutes into the second half, marking only his second cap with a first international goal.

It looked like the hosts were set to fall to a shock defeat, but captain Eden Hazard’s header brought Marc Wilmots’ men level before Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman’s first Belgium goal proved decisive.

After being criticised for a poor draw against Finland last time out, Belgium – the highest-ranked nation playing at Euro 2016 – needed this morale-boosting victory ahead of the tournament, although defensive concerns remain.

Source: Alion/YouTube

Norway, meanwhile, have lost two of their last three matches as they turn their attention to World Cup qualification.

It took only 153 seconds for Belgium to move into the lead when Kevin De Bruyne’s pass was deflected into the path of Lukaku and the striker breezed past Jonas Svensson to blast a shot beyond a static Orjan Nyland from outside the penalty area.

Axel Witsel was inches wide with a low strike for the hosts, but Norway equalised in the 21st minute.

Source: Alion/YouTube

Radja Nainggolan was dispossessed by visiting captain Stefan Johansen in a dangerous area and the Celtic midfielder’s clever reverse pass allowed King to dispatch an excellent first-time finish in off the far post, leaving Thibaut Courtois with no chance.

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Source: Alion/YouTube

Having been second best prior to their goal, Norway could have gone into the break ahead, with Courtois reacting superbly to push away a stinging Berisha drive, before King stabbed wide from close range after outfoxing Toby Alderweireld.

Source: Alion/YouTube

In a thrilling start to the second half, Belgium came close to regaining the lead before being punished at the other end. First, Nyland got down to save Witsel’s long-range attempt and did even better to deny De Bruyne on the rebound.

A few moments later, though, Berisha cut inside unchallenged from the right and arrowed a magnificent left-footed shot into the top corner.

Belgium responded well and Lukaku stretched to shoot wide, while Nainggolan and Witsel forced Nyland into further action.

Source: Alion/YouTube

A leveller was coming and De Bruyne’s dinked cross from the right was diverted in by Hazard’s faint header with 20 minutes remaining.

Belgium continued to pile on the pressure as Dries Mertens fired wide from a tight angle and Lukaku’s goal-bound effort was blocked having rounded Nyland.

The turnaround was complete in the 73rd minute when Mertens’ corner was helped on by Alderweireld and headed home by a stooping Ciman just seven minutes after coming on, providing Wilmots with relief ahead of the trip to France.

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