Defensive headaches continue for Belgium after narrow win against Norway

Belgium 3 Norway 2
Defensive headaches continue for Belgium after narrow win against Norway

Ireland’s Group E opponents looked on course for a morale-boosting victory when Romelu Lukaku struck inside three minutes for his fourth goal in four matches.

However, defensive frailties allowed Norway to equalise after 21 minutes and take a 2-1 lead early in the second-half, leaving Belgian coach Marc Wilmots still pondering his starting line-up against Italy on June 13.

The first lapse came midway through a first period Belgian dominated when midfielder Radja Nainggolan was hustled off the ball by Stefan Johansen and Joshua King beat goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to score.

In a frenetic three minutes after the break, Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne fired at keeper Orjan Nyland from close range before Norway’s Veton Berisha, who plays in Germany’s second division, cut in from the right, drifted across the defence and scored.

The Norwegians seemed to tire in the final quarter, leaving gaps in their defence and allowing Belgium winger Eden Hazard to head home Kevin De Bruyne’s cross in the 70th and sub Laurent Ciman to do the same three minutes later from a corner.

BELGIUM: Courtois; Denayer (Ciman, 66), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Lukaku; Witsel (Fellaini, 57), Nainggolan, Mertens (Origi, 80); De Bruyne, Hazard (Dembele, 84), Lukaku

NORWAY: Nyland; Svensson, Hovland, Forren, Aleesami; Henriksen, Selnaes (Strandberg, 73), Johansen (Jenssen, 75), Berisha (Fossum, 73), King (Sorloth, 81), Diomande (Berisha, 66).

Referee: Tobias Stieler (Germany).

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