Netherlands Extend Unbeaten Record As They Defeat Wales In Clutch Nations League Encounter

Netherlands earned a dramatic late winner over Wales just moments after they thought they had squandered the win in injury time.

The Cardiff City Stadium was in jubilant mood after Wales sealed World Cup qualification just days earlier with a victory over Ukraine, although fans will have left with a slightly bitter taste in their mouths after having levelled against the Dutch late on.

Before kick-off Wales supporters serenaded Danny Ward, one of seven changes from the team that edged past Ukraine, but Leicester’s goalkeeper was replaced by Stoke City’s Adam Davies at the interval.

Gareth Bale started on the bench, while Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Neco Williams were among those rested and excluded from the squad altogether. Ben Davies, who performed heroically last time out, wore the captain’s armband. 

The Netherlands, fresh from crushing Belgium in Brussels, made massive adjustments. Virgil van Dijk was absent after being granted leave by Louis van Gaal but Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong were among the substitutes.

Van Gaal, reappointed by the Netherlands last August, is yet to lose in his third tenure in command and five minutes into the second half his side opened the score in clinical form. 

Jerdy Schouten, another debutant, located Koopmeiners on the edge of the hosts’ 18-yard box and the Atalanta midfielder coolly hammered a diagonal effort, which brushed Davies’s fingers in the Wales goal, into the bottom corner. 

Van Gaal, legs crossed in the away dugout, scrawled a few notes down on his notepad. In the buildup to the game he dubbed this Netherlands side “a present”.

READ MOREItaly Go Top Of Group After Defeating Hungary in Nations League.

After a tense first half, the opener arrived five minutes after the restart through Teun Koopmeiners, who hit a powerful shot into the bottom corner in the 50th minute.

Midway through the second half, De Jong and Steven Bergwijn were introduced, while Wales were forced to make a change 10 minutes after falling behind when Joe Morrell was injured and replaced by Rubin Colwill.

As Wales struggled to create a serious chance in the second period, MK Dons midfielder Matthew Smith came in to replace Levitt, and Gareth Bale arrived to a hero's welcome, coming on as a substitute in after 77 minutes

READ MOREHarry Kane Late Goal Rescues England From Loss Against Germany In Nations League.

Rhys Norrington-Davies then thought he had snatched a famous leveller for the Welsh in injury time, through a powerful header in the 90+2 minute.

But the joy was short lived as, moments later, as Wales who believed they had done enough to earn a point and extend their undefeated home run to 20 games,  Wout Weghorst scored an even more impressive header though a brilliant move by Frenkie de Jong in the 90+4 minute to hand the visitors all three points.

And that was enough for a 2-1 victory, putting them in command of their Nations League group after a 4-1 victory over Belgium five days prior.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.