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Ciman starts, Gaber comes off bench in Belgium’s friendly win over Egypt

LAFC teammates square off in World Cup tune-up.

DC United v Los Angeles FC Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

While Los Angeles Football Club was in action on Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup, two LAFC teammates squared off on the international front earlier in the day.

LAFC defender Laurent Ciman started and played the full 90 minutes for Belgium in their 3-0 friendly win over Egypt in Brussels on Wednesday. Ciman’s club teammate, midfielder/defender Omar Gaber, came off the bench in the 79th minute of the match, when the game was 2-0 in favor of the hosts.

Here are the highlights from the match:

Of course, both Belgium and Egypt are World Cup-bound, but Ciman’s 90-minute shift was a little bit curious. The defender was officially placed on standby this week, outside the 23-man final roster for Belgium for the World Cup, but concerns over injuries, particularly surrounding oft-injured defender Vincent Kompany, means Ciman still has a shot of being on the final roster after all. Did Belgium manager Roberto Martinez play Ciman because the LAFC man is in line to move into the 23-man roster, or did he play him because he was there? We shall see.

Gaber, on the other hand, is on the final 23-man roster for Egypt. After starting the Pharoahs’ first tune-up friendly, against Kuwait, he sat out the previous friendly altogether. Now, coming off the bench late, will he be a bench option in Russia? Will manager Hector Cuper opt to rotate his group throughout the group stage? Another item to watch moving forward.

Belgium have one more friendly before they start World Cup play, against Costa Rica on Monday. So Ciman could potentially play against LAFC teammates two games in a row. Egypt are next back in action in the big dance, their opening group stage match against Uruguay a week from Friday.

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