Late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaasen saw the Netherlands beat African champions Senegal 2-0 to top Group A.
A sluggish game with few chances seemed to end scoreless until Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy took advantage of a misjudgment and headed in a teasing cross from Frenkie de Jong.
After Mendy failed to deal with a Memphis Depay shot as a second-half substitute, Klaasen tapped a rebound to seal the win in the final minutes of overtime.
De Jong was one of the few players who lived up to expectations as the Netherlands struggled to control midfield. Meanwhile, Senegal’s quick counter-attacks kept Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt busy at the back. But without the injured Sadio Mane, the African champions lacked focus in attack.
“We didn’t expect to lose,” coach Louis van Gaal told the NOS. “If you look at Senegal, he had very few chances in the first half and he only had two chances in the second half.”
Van Gaal said he brought in Memphis Depay for the final 30 minutes to “protect him from himself” as the Barcelona forward recovers from a hamstring injury.
He named Gakpo as the player who gave the Netherlands the edge. I should have.”
Heerenveen goalkeeper Andries Noppelt kept a clean sheet in his debut with the national team, noting with two important saves while the score was 0–0.
Noppert said on Sunday he was told he would start after impressing in Thursday’s training match. “I was told to play like I would play in a club, but that’s a different outfit.”
Captain Virgil van Dijk said the Oranje need to learn lessons from the difficulties they experienced in Senegal. “When we had the ball, they defended very deep. When we lost the ball in midfield, they were able to put us under pressure with their speed,” he said.
The Dutch will face Ecuador on Friday and finish their group game against hosts Qatar on Monday.
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https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2022/11/senegal-0-2-netherlands-oranje-grind-out-win-with-late-goals/ Senegal 0-2 Holland: Oranje win with a late goal