International friendly ends 2-2 after Alan Browne’s late equaliser inside the Aviva Stadium
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Ireland substitute Alan Browne powered home a header five minutes from time to hand the hosts a 2-2 draw with top-ranked Belgium in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
It added gloss to the centenary celebrations of the Football Association of Ireland and extended the home team’s unbeaten run to seven games.
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Michy Batshuayi and Hans Vanaken scored either side of halftime to threaten to spoil the party as an understrength Belgium twice took the lead.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez left out stalwarts with 50 caps and over in order to look at fringe players before November’s World Cup in Qatar and was therefore without 12 regulars.
But the visitors were ahead after 12 minutes when Batshuayi cut inside off the left wing to hammer home the opening goal with a curling shot across the face of goal into the far corner.
Ireland responded with an even more spectacular effort as Chiedozie Ogbene’s overhead kick levelled the scores 10 minutes before halftime.
Ireland had a Callum Robinson effort cleared off the line soon after the break but were caught cold at a 58th minute corner as Vanaken’s header took a wicked deflection off Ireland captain Seamus Coleman to hand the lead back to the Belgians.
Ogbene’s persistence in chasing a loose ball out on the right wing set up the 85th minute equaliser as he not only chased what looked a lost cause but kept the ball in play. He swung in the perfect cross for Browne who scored as he timed his run perfectly to get power and pace on his header.
Emma James provides the player ratings from the Aviva Stadium in the photo gallery above. To move on to the next photo, click on the arrows or if using a mobile device simply swipe.
Updated: March 27, 2022, 7:19 AM