Netherlands strike late to beat Senegal


Late goals by Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen gave the Netherlands a 2-0 victory over African champions Senegal on Monday on their return to the World Cup stage. With Senegal missing injured star man Sadio Mane and the Dutch without their main attacking threat Memphis Depay at kick-off, the Group A encounter in Doha looked set to end in a goalless draw. But with just six minutes remaining PSV Eindhoven forward Gakpo got up in front of Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to head in a floated Frenkie de Jong cross from the left. Substitute Klaassen then secured the victory deep in injury time, following up to score after Mendy had saved from Depay, who had also come off the bench. The result leaves the Netherlands level at the top of the group with Ecuador, who beat hosts Qatar 2-0 in the tournament’s opening match on Sunday.Louis van Gaal’s side play Ecuador on Friday, while Senegal now face a must-win contest against Qatar.Senegal saw Bayern Munich superstar Mane — who came second in this year’s Ballon d’Or — pull out of the squad with a leg injury on the eve of the tournament. Al Thumama Stadium -– played out to the backdrop of the non-stop drumming and dancing of the Senegal support, but also in front of a considerable number of empty seats — never lived up to its billing.Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye came closest to scoring for Senegal with a strike on the half-volley from the edge of the box that was beaten away by Netherlands goalkeeper Andries Noppert in the 73rd minute.