Gakpo, Klaasen strikes late to lead Netherlands to crucial win over Senegal

Gakpo, Klaasen strikes late to lead Netherlands to crucial win over Senegal

DOHA, Qatar – Louis van Gaal’s gamble at both ends of the pitch paid off for the Netherlands.

Earlier, Memphis Depay returned from injury as a second-half substitute to spark life into the Netherlands attack as the Netherlands scored two late goals to beat Senegal 2-0 at the World Cup on Monday.

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At the back, Dutch goalkeeper Anders Knoppert made three key saves to keep the African champions alive after Van Gaal decided to give him his first international cap at the World Cup.

Cody Gakpo and substitute Davie Klaasen provided late goals to start the Dutch team’s first World Cup win since 2014.

Gakpo scored the team’s first try in the 84th minute when he headed in a cross from Frankie de Jong. Klaasen added a second right eight minutes into stoppage time after Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had only weakly blocked a shot from Depay.

The orange-shirted Dutch fans were down until the late strikes as Senegalese drums and chants were the dominant sound from the stands for most of the game. But Senegal’s main problem was predictable: without injured forward Sadio Mane, it couldn’t convert any of its chances.

Depay, who has just recovered from a hamstring injury, was stopped by Van Gaal around 30 minutes after the veteran coach said a day earlier that he was not sure if the Barcelona forward was ready for action.

He decided to see if he was and Dippy responded by playing parts in both goals.

First, he connected with De Jong near the edge of the area before the midfielder crossed to Gakpo for the first goal. Depay’s run and deep shot in injury time led to the second goal and sealed the victory for the Netherlands.

Neupert’s three-point save came when he shot low to deny Senegal substitute Pop Gueye when it was 1-0.

The lengthy injury time – it stretched to nearly nine minutes – was partly due to a serious-looking injury to Senegal central midfielder Sheikho Kouite, who was on a stretcher with his right leg limp.

Senegal coach Elio Sisi looked at Stoney’s face in the first game as his best player was eliminated from the tournament.

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