26.03.2022 at 17:00 Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland
2 - 2
Referee: Nicholas Walsh (SCO)
Friendly / PROG-match
Max O Leary
Dara O Shea
Albert Sambi Lokonga,
Siebe Van der Hayden
26th Mar 2022
Michy Batshuayi opened the scoring as he controlled the ball on the left side then after cutting onto his right foot, to fire a high curling effort beyond the outstretched Caoimhin Kelleher.
Shortly after, Batshuayi came close to adding a second, but his effort was under-hit and he hit the side netting, as Kelleher covered the threat at his near post. Ireland began to put more pressure on the visitors as the first half progressed, with James McClean and Seamus Coleman teaming up well down the right and it was McClean who gave Ireland the initiative as his low shot got a deflection for a corner.
Moments later it was Chiedozie Ogbene\'s stunning finish that was to bring Ireland level. Following some excellent build-up play by McClean and Callum Robinson, Ogbene equalized with a superbly struck overhead kick after Robinsons’ cross into the box was not cleared correctly. Ireland was to start the second the brighter as an initial through pass that was half-cleared by the Belgium defence saw McClean\'s effort was intercepted by Robinson, who tried to guide it home with a clever touch that was cleared off the line by Jason Denayer.
After breaking free from the Belgium defence and collecting the ball at a tight angle, Jason Knight had an effort hit the side netting. Belgium, always a threat, had another Batshuayi shot diverted from a corner by Shane Duffy.
From that corner Belgium was to reclaim the lead, Thorgan Hazard\'s corner was sent into the area, with Hans Vanaken rising to direct the ball beyond Kelleher. For periods of the second half, Ireland maintained the majority of possession and came close to tying the game with a long-range effort from Robinson that had Simon Mignolet at full length pushing the ball away to safety.
After Ogbene done an excellent job of keeping the ball in play, he delivered a pinpoint cross to second-half substitute Alan Browne, who headed the ball brilliantly past Mignolet to give Ireland its deserved equaliser with five minutes left in the game.
Stephen Kenny\'s team put forward a strong showing in this match and will face Lithuania on Tuesday night.
Republic of Ireland: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK), Seamus Coleman ©, Shane Duffy, John Egan, Josh Cullen, Callum Robinson (Troy Parrott 90), Matt Doherty, James McClean (Ryan Manning 79), Jeff Hendrick (Alan Browne 75), Jason Knight (William Keane 75), Chiedozie Ogbene.
Subs not used: James Talbot (GK), Max O’Leary (GK), Conor Hourihane, Nathan Collins, Dara O’Shea, Scott Hogan, Mark Sykes, Jayson Molumby.
Belgium: Simon Mignolet (GK), Jason Denayer, Dedryck Boyata, Arthur Theate (Adnan Januzaj 75), Leander Dendoncker, Hans Vanaken, Youri Tielemans ©, Thorgan Hazard, Charles De Ketelaere (Orel Mangala 75), Alexis Saelemaekers (Thomas Foket 46), Michy Batshuayi (Christian Benteke 82).
Subs not used: Thomas Kaminski (GK), Matz Sels (GK), Leandro Trossard, Yari Verschaeren, Divock Origi, Adnan Januzaj, Albert Samba Lokonga, Sebastiaan Bornauw, Siebe Van Der Heyden.
Man of the Match: Chiedozie Ogbene