Belgium beat Salah-less Egypt 3-0
GB news 24 desk//
Belgium have shown flashes of their attacking prowess, beating Egypt 3-0 in a World Cup warm-up with the help of goals from Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard.
After a dominant first half, substitute Marouane Fellaini swept home from close range in injury time to complete the scoring.
Egypt, held goalless for the second time in three matches, showed how much they miss injured Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, who has been named in the Pharaoh’s World Cup squad.
Driven forward by the speed and insight of Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium were 2-0 up at halftime before losing some fluency amid a flurry of substitutions after the break.
Salah, Egypt’s great scoring hope for the World Cup, is still recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered in the Champions League final which Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid.
Egypt should have taken the lead in the 23rd minute when Mohamed Abdelshafy swung in an enticing cross from the left, but Marwan Mohsen, unmarked in the middle, headed wide.
Belgium were without centre back Vincent Kompany who injured his groin on Saturday during Belgium’s lacklustre 0-0 draw with Portugal.
Coach Roberto Martinez named Los Angeles FC defender Laurent Ciman as a replacement if Kompany is not fit to play in Russia.
Hazard drove a low shot in the 27th minute that 45-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam el-Hadary couldn’t hold and Lukaku pounced on the rebound to fire in from close range.
Hazard added his name to the score sheet in the 38th minute, blasting a shot high and hard past el-Hadary after Yannick Carrasco had cut back the ball from the left.
Martinez rested Lukaku and Hazard for the second half, giving Michy Batshuayi and Adnan Januzaj a chance to play themselves into favour.
Batshuayi set up Fellaini’s goal by beating an Egypt defender and cutting back the ball.
The defeat was Egypt’s final warm-up before Russia, while Belgium play Costa Rica on Monday.
Egypt opens their World Cup campaign in Russia against Uruguay on June 15 while Belgium’s first Group G match is against Panama on June 18.
Panama and Nigeria both suffered 1-0 defeats in their final World Cup tune-ups against Norway and the Czech Republic respectively.
Tomas Kalas scored the winner in Austria, for the Czechs, who have not qualified for the tournament in Russia.
The Super Eagles also lost against England last week ahead of their sixth participation at the World Cup and are on a five-match winless streak.
But Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is not troubled, despite having to contend with former champions Argentina, Croatia and newcomers Iceland in a tricky Group D.
“I don’t worry about friendly results,” said Rohr.
“We are not ready now for the World Cup but we will be ready in 10 days.”