Netherlands 3-1 N. Ireland: Two stoppage-time goals lift Oranjes past stubborn North Ireland

Netherlands 3-1 N. Ireland: Two stoppage-time goals lift Oranjes past stubborn North Ireland

The Netherlands came from a goal down to beat a stubborn Northern Ireland 3-1 in  EURO 2020 qualifier match played on Thursday night at the De Kuip Stadium. 

Two injury-time goals from Memphis Depay and Luuk De Jong lifted the hosts over their opponents, who had taken the lead in the 73rd minute before Depay pulled the home team level with 10 minutes to go.

It was not going to be easy for the Oranges against a side leading Group C, but they controlled the entire match but had nothing to show of their dominance after 90 minutes. 

Slow start from both sides

The Dutch were on the attack from the first whistle, with Liverpool Virgil van Dijk getting an opportunity to test the keeper after two minutes, but his shot went out off the far post. 

Frenkie de Jong, Memphis Depay and Giorginio Wjnaldum led the Oranje's early attacks, as they found their feet inside the opening 15 minutes. 

The boys in Orange continued to run at their opponents and controlled the possession 72:28 by the half-hour mark. 

The match was however devoid of real action through the first half, with both sides unable to test the keepers on the opposite sides. 

None of the sides could find the opening goal as the match went into the break still tied at 0-0.

Match comes to life in the second half 

The second half started as the first ended, with the home team on the front and pressing their visitors. 

Coach Ronald Koeman felt the need to bring in fresh blood going into the last half-hour of the match, making a double change on the 66th minute.

First, he replaced the ineffective Ryan Babel with Donyell Malen, and also brought in Donny van de Beek for Marten de Roon.

Martin O'Neill made a change as well, sending in Josh Magennis in place of Kyle Lafferty.

Oranjes miss a couple of chances

The Netherlands should have taken the lead three minutes after the changes, but Steven Bergwijn wasted a glorious opportunity after receiving a killer pass only to miskick the ball from six yards out and made it easy for the keeper. 

Georginio Wijnaldum then came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 73rd minute, but his badly hit shot from inside the box was blocked. 

Flurry of goals in the dying minutes

Two minutes later, it was a goal for the visitors! Stuart Dallas sent in a long raking pass onto the head of Josh Magennis who made no mistake from close in and sent the ball into the bottom left corner.

The home team was however level five minutes later, Memphis Depay getting to the end of Donyell Malen's nice pass inside the box to score his fifth goal of the qualifiers. 

With the match seemingly headed for a draw, Luuk de Jong popped up at the far post to scramble the ball into the net for a 2-1 lead much to the celebration of the home fans. 

The visitors switched off after the second goal and were caught off-guard when Depay scored his second of the night and a third for the home team with virtually the last kick of the match. 

The game ended 3-1 in favour of the hosts, a victory that saw them soar to the top of Group C ahead of Germany and Northern Ireland. 

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