Match ends, Senegal 0, Netherlands 2.
Two late goals from the Netherlands sealed an important victory in their World Cup opener against Senegal in Group A.
PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo beat Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the ball when it was chipped in by Frenkie de Jong to nod the Dutch in front with six minutes remaining.
Substitute Davy Klaassen then pounced on a rebound from Memphis Depay’s shot to add a second deep into stoppage-time to confirm the success.
Gakpo whirled away in celebration in front of the Senegal fans behind the goal as the Dutch supporters, together in a sea of orange at the other end of the Al Thumama Stadium, rose to their feet.
They were already chanting their team’s name as they knew victory was near before Klaassen made sure in the ninth and final minute of injury time.
Senegal, who had threatened throughout the match, came close to equalising before that when Papa Gueye fired a finish towards the bottom left corner, but Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert got his fingertips to it.
It was a match that teased a goal for long periods but both sides lacked ruthlessness. Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal even risked the fitness of Depay to bring him on as a second-half substitute in the hope of finding a way through.
The risk paid off as the Netherlands secured a vital three points in a game many believe could decide the winners of Group A.
They now sit joint-top in the group with Ecuador, who beat hosts Qatar 2-0 on Sunday evening.
Senegal, without injured key forward Sadio Mane during the competition, looked like a side missing their main attacking threat but can take confidence from the number of times they troubled the Dutch defence.
Dutch underwhelm but find enough
There was a risk both sides would leave the Al Thumama Stadium with a sense of frustration before Gakpo’s header finally broke the deadlock.
Senegalese fans brought colour, dance and unwavering drum-banging, often silencing the Oranje masses, but despite an explosive start to the match on the pitch, it fizzled out as the game wore on.
Watford winger Ismaila Sarr had shone on the left for the African champions in the first half, while De Jong controlled the tempo and dictated play for the Netherlands.
Neither goalkeeper, though, had been tested by half-time. The Dutch who had wasted two glorious chances – Barcelona’s De Jong taking too long to shoot after Gakpo had been selfless when he should have had an attempt himself.
But chances began to fall as the final whistle drew closer.
Senegal’s Boulaye Dia and Idrissa Gueye came close, while the Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk headed a good chance over the bar from a Gakpo corner.
Van Gaal eventually rolled the dice, bringing on Depay, who was not fully fit – his introduction receiving a huge roar from the Dutch fans.
He did not feature much until his shot was pushed out by Mendy into the path of Klaassen who made it 2-0.
It was an underwhelming performance from the Dutch at times but they did enough to come through arguably their toughest match in the group.
- 22DialloSubstituted forJakobsat 62′minutes
- 8KouyatéSubstituted forGueyeat 73′minutes
- 6MendyBooked at 90mins
- 15DiattaSubstituted forJacksonat 73′minutes
- 5GueyeBooked at 90mins
- 9DiaSubstituted forDiengat 69′minutes
- 3de LigtBooked at 56mins
- 4van Dijk
- 11BerghuisSubstituted forKoopmeinersat 79′minutes
- 21de Jong
- 8GakpoSubstituted forde Roonat 90+4′minutes
- 18JanssenSubstituted forDepayat 62′minutes
- 7BergwijnSubstituted forKlaassenat 79′minutes
- 6de Vrij
- 9de Jong
- 15de Roon
- Wilton Pereira Sampaio
Second Half ends, Senegal 0, Netherlands 2.
Goal! Senegal 0, Netherlands 2. Davy Klaassen (Netherlands) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner.
Attempt saved. Memphis Depay (Netherlands) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Teun Koopmeiners with a headed pass.
Foul by Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands).
Ismail Jakobs (Senegal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Idrissa Gueye (Senegal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Davy Klaassen (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Senegal).
Offside, Netherlands. Teun Koopmeiners tries a through ball, but Denzel Dumfries is caught offside.
Nampalys Mendy (Senegal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Davy Klaassen (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nampalys Mendy (Senegal).
Substitution, Netherlands. Marten de Roon replaces Cody Gakpo.
Attempt missed. Bamba Dieng (Senegal) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Youssouf Sabaly with a cross.
Attempt missed. Ismail Jakobs (Senegal) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Bamba Dieng (Senegal).
Corner, Senegal. Conceded by Nathan Aké.
Corner, Senegal. Conceded by Andries Noppert.