Spain made a winning start to their UEFA European Under-17 Championship elite round campaign, but they had to rally from a goal down before overcoming Group 5 hosts Belgium with three goals in the last eight minutes.
Eric Abrams's charges looked set to take all three points in Mol when Umberto Carvalho headed his side in front seven minutes into the second half. However, goals by substitute Moisés Bardonado and Gerard Deulofeu turned the tie on its head, before another replacement, Federico Vico Villegas, gave the scoreline an extra sheen in added time.
Spain created plenty of goalscoring opportunities during a dominant first half, but Ginés Meléndez's side failed to make possession count. FC Barcelona starlet Deulofeu, who helped Spain to last season's final, squandered the best chance of the first period, blotting his otherwise impressive copybook when he failed to beat goalkeeper Sven Dhoest after a mazy dribble that bamboozled Jordan Atheba.
The visitors punished Spain's profligacy, and a defensive error on the edge of the area, when Carvalho met Jordy Croux's cross. Indeed a move between the same two players on the hour mark would have doubled Belgium's lead but this time Carvalho missed the target.
Tactical changes by Meléndez provided the hosts with more attacking intent and, after Iker Hernandez and Denis Suarez squandered further chances, Bardonado equalised when Dhoest failed to hold a Deulofeu shot. Five minutes later, Deulofeu raced on to Diego Caballo's pass to make it 2-1. Vico Villegas then dribbled his way into the area to score following another fine assist by the inspirational Deulofeu.
It left Meléndez happy with the impact of his players from the bench. "We were losing underservedly having made just one mistake, but we turned it round because, as I always say, football is a game of 14 first-team players not 11," the veteran coach said. "The victory is totally deserved as we played well. For the next game I will change the starting XI, but I will not say who."
A defiant Belgium captain Bernard Malanda-Adje said: "The most accurate result would have been a draw because today we played well. We had only a physical problem in comparison with Spain and they were able to win because they were less tired than us at the end. If we play like today in the next two games we will have no problems winning both to qualify."
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|1||Alfonso Herrero (GK) (C)||1||Sven Dhoest (GK)|
|2||Oscar Arroyo||2||Ibrahima Cisse|
|4||Carlos Garrido||3||Jordan Atheba|
|5||Ivan Saez||4||Bernard Malanda-Adje (C)|
|9||Raul De Tomas|
|10||Denis Suarez||7||Jordy Croux|
|11||Tortol Lumanza Lembi|
|18||Diego Caballo||16||Nicolas Ducatteeuw|
|13||David Vázquez (GK)||12||Guillaume Hubert (GK)|
|3||Antonio Luque||10||Dennis Praet|
|6||Pol Calvet||13||Dennes De Kegel|
|14||Julien De Sart|
|12||Sergio Menéndez||17||David Iboma|
|Ginés Meléndez (ESP)||Eric Abrams (BEL)|
|Kenn Hansen (DEN)|
|Martin Wulff (DEN), Semen Shlonchak (UKR)|
|Yuriy Mozharovskyy (UKR)|