Belgium 1-1 Finland: Lukaku comes off bench to grab late equaliser

Romeu Lukaku made an impact after replacing Marouane Fellaini with 10 minutes to go by chesting home a last-gasp equaliser.

Belgium 1-1 Finland: Lukaku comes off bench to grab late equaliser
Lukaku managed to make an instant impact off the bench late on (Photo: Getty Images)
Belgium
1 1
Finland
Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Denayer, Vermaelen, Vertonghen, Hazard, Fellaini (Lukaku 79), Witsel, De Bruyne, Batshuayi (Beteken 57), Origi (Mertens 58)
Finland: Hradecky, Arkivuo (Saksela 71), Arajuuri, Halsti, Raitala, Ring (Mitrea 54), Sparv, Hetemaj (Lam 83), Hamalainen (Pohjanpalo 68), Eremenko
SCORE: 0-1, 53 min, Hamalainen. 1-1, 89 min, Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku helped Belgium avoid embarrassment in their penultimate pre-tournament friendly after his late equaliser helped rescue a 1-1 draw against Finland.

Lukaku scored in the last minute of the game after Kasper Hamalainen had given the visitors a surprise lead on 53 minutes.

Finland keeper Lukas Hredecky had made several saves in succession before and after they took the lead, but the forward felt his side should have won the game.

“It was difficult. We created a lot of chances and then we had an unlucky moment against us. We really should have won,“ Lukaku told Belgian television.

Belgium's Michy Batshuayi was frustrated after his first-half miss (Photo: Getty Images)
Belgium's Michy Batshuayi was frustrated after his first-half miss (Photo: Getty Images)

Frustration for hosts in first-half

Manager Marc Wilmots made a change to the forward line that started against Switzerland last week, with Lukaku and Dries Mertens dropping to the bench.

This gave Michy Batshuayi and Liverpool forward Divock Origi a chance to play alongside each other, and the hosts looked in control from the start.

Belgium piled on the pressure in the opening exchanges of the match, with their opponents not being able to get on the ball and attack.

They barely managed to get into the Belgium half, but Hredecky was on hand to make some brilliant stops, which included that of Batshuayi, who headed against the post.

Finland's Hamalainen struck after the break to put his side ahead (Photo: Getty Images)
Finland's Hamalainen struck after the break to put his side ahead (Photo: Getty Images)

Finland strike after half-time

Frustration was setting in and Finland looked content to sit back and soak up the pressure, and when the time came, they struck against the run of play.

Hamalainen slotted past keeper Thibaut Courtois shortly after half-time, which evidently didn’t please the home crowd, who whistled and jeered when the goal went in.

Lukaku added: “All teams seem to defend against us and wait for their one chance.”

The goal saw Wilmots reach immediately, bringing on a substitution, with Mertens and Christian Benteke coming on in place of Batshuayi and Origi.

Lukaku popped up late on to chest home an equaliser (Photo: Getty Images)
Lukaku popped up late on to chest home an equaliser (Photo: Getty Images)

Lukaku rescues draw late on

However, it was the introduction of the third substitute, Lukaku, that eventually produced the equaliser, which looked to have been coming for the entire second-half.

Mertens’ cross could only be parried by Finland keeper Hredecky, and Lukaku was on hand to chest home from just a yard out.

Wilmots has one final dress rehearsal this Sunday against Norway before their Euro 2016 tournament gets underway on 13 June against Italy.

The Red Devils will also be going up against Republic of Ireland and Sweden in the so called ‘group of death’ in this summer’s tournament.