BUCHAREST, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Romania came from behind to beat Belgium 2-1 at home in an friendly on Wednesday thanks to a stunning first-half goal by Alexandru Maxim and a second-half penalty by substitute Gabriel Torje.
The visitors made their early dominance pay midway through the first half when Florin Gardos failed to clear a cross from the left wing and Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke made no mistake with a 10-metre shot.
Before the interval, the Belgians threaded the ball neatly across a midfield featuring Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellaini and Steven Defour but were also forced into desperate defence to keep out Romania’s trademark quick counter-attacks.
The home side equalised less than 10 minutes later thanks to Maxim’s fantastic curling shot from just outside the penalty area that gave goalkeeper Simon Mignolet no chance.
It was the 22-year-old Pandurii Targu-Jiu striker’s second goal in four internationals.
Romania, making five changes at halftime, started brightly in the second half with Torje tormenting the Belgian defence on the right flank while Ciprian Marica tested Mignolet with a shot from a tight angle.
The lively Torje made it 2-1 in the 66th minute when he converted a penalty after Jan Vertonghen’s handball following Alexandru Bourceanu’s cross from the right.
Romelu Lukaku missed a golden opportunity to earn Belgium a draw, sending a low shot narrowly wide with only keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu to beat 10 minutes from time.
Romania are third their 2014 World Cup qualifying Group D with nine points from four matches, three points behind leaders Netherlands.
Much-fancied Belgium top Group A with 10 points from four matches, leading Croatia on goal difference. (Writing by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Mark Meadows; email@example.com; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; firstname.lastname@example.org)