World Cup: Netherlands find late winner, move past Senegal 2-0

Netherlands Senegal World Cup
Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands, left, scores the opening goal of his team as Senegal’s goalkeeper Edouard Mendy tries to stop the ball during the World Cup group A soccer match between Senegal and Netherlands at the Al Thumama Stadium, in Doha, Qatar, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

The Netherlands have likely hurdled their most difficult test of the group stage, finding a late winner to ultimately move past Senegal 2-0 on Monday at the 2022 World Cup. 

Cody Gakpo scored his first-ever World Cup goal for the Oranje in the 84th minute, heading home a Frenkie de Jong cross just past the onrushing and outstretched fists of Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy. 

For good measure, Davy Klaassen put the finishing touches on Senegal when he picked up a second for the Netherlands. Memphis Depay muscled his way down the left wing to get a shot off that was parried away well by Mendy. But the rebound came right to the sub — who had been introduced just minutes before — where he slotted it home. 

It was a triumphant return for the Dutch, who shockingly missed out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

As the favorites to win Group A, which also features Qatar and Ecuador, the Netherlands’ stiffest test of the stage likely came in the form of Senegal. Granted, the African side is without their superstar striker in Bayern Munich talisman Sadio Mane — and his absence showed. 

Senegal sorely lacked a finishing touch, though they still created menacing chances on Netherlands keeper Andries Nooppert, who was making his international debut on the biggest stage of them all. Noppert turned away all three shots that descended upon his goal.

Senegal even looked most likely to score after a scoreless first half, most notably when Boulaye Dia sent a twisting one-time shot at the corner of the box that might have snuck inside the right post, but Noppert made the save. 

The victory moves the Netherlands into second place in Group A behind Ecuador, who defeated Qatar 3-0 in Sunday’s World Cup opener. 

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