The Oranje win the first shock of the World Cup. After a high-level duel between outsiders, the Netherlands overcame Senegal in the second match of group A (0-2). The African champions have long made the best impression but lacked a hint of offensive inspiration before cracking against Cody Gakpo (84th) and Davy Klaassen (90th + 9). Louis van Gaal’s players celebrate their return to the World Cup and rejoice Ecuador at the top of the pool.
Absent four years ago in Russia, the Oranje quickly set up a fluid collective game. Opposite, the African champions entered their tournament with enormous desire and a lot of percussion and the opposition of style began at a steady pace. Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn sent a first thrill through the surface of Edouard Mendy (4th). Biting in front with the Monegasque Krépin Diatta, the former Rémois Boulaye Dia and Ismaila Sarr, Senegal responded with a strike a little too removed from the former Rennais (11th).
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Frenkie De Jong illustrated the collective technical superiority of the Dutch but lacked a bit of speed at the finish (19th). His partners in the attack, they failed in terms of precision (27th, 40th) and reached the break without the slightest shot on target on 5 attempts. It didn’t really get better in the second half with a header over the target signed Virgil van Dijk from a corner (53rd).
Virgil van Dijk rises above everyone during Senegal v Netherlands
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Senegal too fair
Van Gaal then decided to launch Memphis Depay, announced forfeit the day before but finally fit despite a two-month injury absence (62nd). The former Lyonnais was slow to get into the rhythm and the Senegalese regained the ascendancy thanks in particular to a sudden pivoting strike on the right from Dia that the novice Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert managed to deflect (65th). The Marseillais Bamba Dieng came into play (68th) while Abdou Diallo, author of a big fight against Denzel Dumfries, was out on injury to give way to Ismail Jakobs (62nd).
Senegal also saw Cheikhou Kouyaté slamming his right thigh and Pape Gueye replacing him (72nd). Despite these hard knocks, Aliou Cissé’s men seemed to be able to finish strong and Idrissa Gueye called on the reactive Noppert (73rd). The light, however, came from De Jong who filed a long opening from the left towards the six meters where Gakpo beat Mendy with a header to finally open the scoring on his team’s first shot on target (0-1, 84th).
Noppert, whose first selection was, remained better inspired than his Senegalese counterpart and diverted the fine strike from Pape Gueye (86th). In added time, Mendy repelled a shot from Depay and Klaassen badly in an advantage to seal the victory for the Oranje (0-2, 90th + 9). Senegal have not managed to forget the absence of their star Sadio Mané but should be able to recover next Friday against Qatar. He will have no choice if he wants to go further in the tournament.
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