Irish lose seven-goal Futsal Euro thriller with Belgium


Northern Ireland suffered a narrow 4-3 defeat to Belgium in their opening match of the UEFA Women’s Futsal Euro qualifiers, reports

Belgium took the lead at Newry Leisure Centre when Tine Van Roie finished well from close range past Alice Harkness.

Northern Ireland levelled the scores on 12 minutes. Heather Mearns did well to intercept a pass on the halfway line, dribbled into the Belgian half and finished low beneath the oncoming Belgian keeper.

Belgium were soon ahead again when Imke Courtois scored with a pinpoint finish into the top corner.

It only took Northern Ireland two minutes to draw level though, Beth McKay with a clever finish past Zelie Lambert.

Celine Verdonck put Belgium 3-2 ahead just before half-time and the lead was stretched when Mariam Abdulai Toloba fired the ball home.

Although Nadene Caldwell’s run down the right set up Amber Dempster to reduce the arrears, Belgium held on to secure the win.

Sweden and Netherlands provide the other opposition this week for Northern Ireland, who are the competition’s only British entry.