Monday Nov 21, 2022. 20:48
Netherlands started their 2022 World Cup campaign on a winning note after they recorded a 2-0 victory over Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium on Monday evening.
Edouard Mendy was at fault for at least one of the Oranje’s two goals in the second half as he failed to gather a cross ahead of Cody Gakpo for the opener before the Lions of Teranga goalkeeper gifted the ball straight to Davy Klaassen to score at the death.
Louis van Gaal’s side share the lead with Ecuador in the group after La Tri triumphed 2-0 over Qatar on Sunday, with the African champions sitting third and the host nation bringing up the rear.
Netherlands made a bright start in Doha and threatened after just four minutes when Vincent Janssen flicked the ball around the corner for Gakpo, who played a square pass to Steven Bergwijn but the Ajax forward was unable to make contact with Edouard Mendy committed and Senegal managed to clear their lines.
The Dutch were adopting an expansive approach and they created another chance on 17 minutes as Gakpo curled a cross to the far post, where Daley Blind nodded wide of the target.
Frenkie de Jong should have opened the scoring two minutes later following a breakaway but the Barcelona midfielder delayed his shot too long with only Mendy to beat and the opposition defence were able to crowd him out in the end.
After Virgil van Dijk steered a header well wide of the near post from a 27th-minute corner, the Liverpool defender was involved in a mix-up at the back with De Jong, who passed the ball to his team-mate after dribbling back to the byline under pressure.
The Oranje captain wasn’t looking at the ball, however, and Senegal stole possession, resulting in Idrissa Gueye skewing a shot wide of the mark just before the hour mark.
Beautiful football from the Dutch on 40 minutes saw them move the ball from the edge of their own area to the other end of the pitch but Berghuis failed to keep his shot down from 18 yards out after being teed up by Janssen.
The score remained goalless at the break and Van Dijk wasted a glorious opportunity to put his team ahead on 53 minutes after getting on the end of a corner but the unmarked centre-back powered his header over the crossbar.
Aliou Cisse’s team created their first clear-cut chance on 65 minutes when Van Dijk gave Boulaye Dia far too time and space to shoot, although Andries Noppert was alert to the danger as he parried the strike away.
Noppert was called into action again on 73 minutes after the West Africans advanced down the left and found Gueye on the edge of the box, with the Everton midfielder seeing his effort expertly pushed away by the goalkeeper.
Just two minutes after Ismaila Sarr directed a header well over the goal from Ismail Jakobs’ cross on the left, the deadlock was finally broken on 84 minutes and it was the Dutch fans celebrating.
De Jong delivered a fantastic cross into the danger area and Gakpo managed to get to the ball ahead of Mendy to guide his header into an open net.
The Lions of Teranga almost found a swift response though, as Pape Gueye saw his snapshot well saved by Noppert in the final minute.
However, Netherlands struck again deep into stoppage time to ensure victory, with Klaassen sweeping the ball home on his weaker foot after Mendy could only parry Memphis Depay’s initial shot straight into the midfielder’s path.
Senegal (0) 0
Netherlands (0) 2 (Gakpo 84′, Klaassen 90+8′)
Senegal: E. Mendy, Y. Sabaly, K. Koulibaly, P. Cisse, A. Diallo (I. Jakobs 62′), C. Kouyate (P. Gueye 73′), N. Mendy, K. Diatta (N. Jackson 74′), I. Gueye, I. Sarr, B. Dia (B. Dieng 69′).
Netherlands: A. Noppert, M. de Ligt, V. van Dijk, N. Ake, D. Dumfries, S. Berghuis (T. Koopmeiners 79′), F. de Jong, D. Blind, C. Gakpo, V. Janssen (M. Depay 62′), S. Bergwijn (D. Klaassen 79′).
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