Belgium and Mexico served up a spectacular international friendly on Friday that saw Romelu Lukaku and Hirving Lozano both score twice in a 3-3 draw at Heysel Stadium.
Eden Hazard gave the Red Devils the lead in the 17th minute, but Andres Guardado tied things from the penalty spot in the 38th. Lukaku restored the lead in the 55th before Lozano’s quick double shocked the fans in Brussels, but the Manchester United man had the last word.
El Tri started with plenty of aggression against Belgium’s makeshift defence, applying a lot of pressure. The first chance fell to the visitors, as Miguel Layun put goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to work with a hard shot five minutes in, while Axel Witsel replied with a volley that flew wide in the 10th.
Thomas Meunier’s failed cross turned into a dangerous shot that nearly clipped the bar before Hazard opened the score. The Chelsea man tore through the defence with remarkable speed, and while Lukaku couldn’t get past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa with his initial effort, Hazard buried the rebound.
Just minutes later, Kevin De Bruyne nearly doubled the lead, as the Mexican defence gave him far too much space. Ochoa went down quickly, however, making an excellent save.
The pace of the match dropped significantly, but Mexico got back in the game eight minutes before half-time after Laurent Ciman pulled Javier Hernandez down in the box. Guardado converted the spot-kick.
Hazard came close to restoring the lead, but Ochoa made another fine stop. The Mexican No. 1 denied De Bruyne as well, pushing his shot onto the post. The late pressure didn’t result in any more goals.
Dries Mertens replaced De Bruyne to start the second half, while Youri Tielemans also stayed in the dressing room for the Red Devils, with Mousa Dembele entering the pitch.
The match was paused just a few minutes into the half following an injury to Hernandez, who grabbed his hamstring. The West Ham United man couldn’t continue and was replaced by Raul Jimenez.
In the 53rd minute, Mertens aimed a free-kick over the bar, and Lukaku only just missed the target from a sharp angle. The Red Devils dominated, and the Manchester United man deservedly restored the lead a few minutes later. He did so accidentally, however. His touch failed him completely, but the ball rolled over the line anyway.
El Tri turned around the situation in a matter of minutes, taking full advantage of Belgium’s insistence on playing with just three defenders against three attackers. Lozano struck twice in quick succession, giving Courtois no chance with his first finish in the 56th minute and converting a rebound for his second in the 60th.
Mertens tried to hit back, firing straight at Ochoa. And Lukaku had more luck, converting a fine cross from the Napoli man to tie things once again in the 70th minute.
Belgium remained in the ascendancy as they searched for a winner, but the threat of the counter was never far off. Lozano beat Meunier with pace but couldn’t keep his shot on target. On the other side of the pitch, a last-ditch tackle denied Hazard his second goal.
Play continued to go up and down, but chances grew rare. The final score remained 3-3, and both teams received a standing ovation after the final whistle, having served up a stunning match.
Next up for El Tri is a friendly against Poland on Monday at PGE Arena Gdansk, while the Red Devils will face Japan on Tuesday at Jan Breydel Stadium.