Late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen were enough to give the Netherlands a crucial 2-0 win over Senegal in their World Cup opener, sending the Oranje level with Ecuador on top of Group A.
Just as a flat second half looked to be fizzling out, Gakpo leapt to meet a beautifully weighted Frenkie de Jong cross and head into an empty net, with Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy caught in no-man’s land.
De Jong’s assist made up for an error in the first half, when he squandered a great chance while one-on-one with Mendy.
Senegal twice tested debutant Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert after the break, but they were unable to find a breakthrough in the absence of injured star man Sadio Mane.
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The Netherlands were also missing their key forward, Memphis Depay, but he made a surprise appearance from the bench in the second half, his first appearance since picking up an injury in September.
And he was involved in the 99th-minute goal that sealed the result, when Depay’s shot was limply parried by Mendy and stuck in on the rebound by fellow substitute Klaassen.