Senegal 0-2 Holland: Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaasen propel the Dutch to victory
Louis van Gaal insisted he was not entirely happy. He grumbled about this team’s sloppy possession and excessive dribbling, but his glee was pretty clear as he waited to greet Cody Gapko.
It was the fourth minute of stoppage time and just 10 minutes earlier Gakpo had headed the opening goal. His reward upon substitution was to be met with a beaming smile, a high five and a slap on the back from his hard-to-please boss.
Holland was far from being the smoothest. Indeed, for the spells of the game, Senegal were on top and yearned for good opportunities before withering.
Cody Gakpo broke the deadlock with six minutes remaining as the Netherlands beat Senegal 2-0
Gakpo beat Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the ball to give the Netherlands the lead
“We were in better shape,” Van Gaal said. “The Senegalese every two minutes were lying on the ground, that’s why we played an extra eight minutes.
‘It was well deserved, and I admit it was too sloppy in possession. Not a good match on our side but it was in defense because we gave up very little. To be honest, I was calm. I always had the feeling that we were going to score.
The breakthrough came in the 84th minute, when Frenkie de Jong teased a pass into the penalty area and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made an error in judgement.
Davy Klaassen, as a late substitute, capitalized on another error from Mendy to seal the victory
Mendy was at fault for both goals as the Chelsea goalkeeper endured a miserable night
Mendy called the ball up and rushed off his line only for Gapko to jump high from a run, leaping across the front of the Chelsea keeper and finding the net with a glancing header.
For the first time all evening, the incessant drumbeat of the Senegalese supporters ceased.
“The emotion is quite different from an ordinary goal,” said the PSV Eindhoven Gapko winger. “There’s more emotion because you want to make everyone proud.”
Davy Klaasen added Holland’s second in the 98th minute, driving the rebound after Mendy saved a weak effort from fellow substitute Memphis Depay.
The two-goal defeat was cruel for Senegal. They had started brightly, as if they were determined to prove they were more than just Sadio Mane, the former Liverpool forward from Bayern Munich who is injured.
Fans took to social media immediately after the game to slam the goalkeeper for his display
Gakpo hugs Dutch coach Louis van Gaal after his side’s 2-0 win over Senegal
Cheikhou Kouyate was stretched in the 74th minute in a huge blow to Senegal
But they came up against Andries Noppert, a giant goalkeeper who was every moment the hero of his international debut.
Two years ago, Noppert was without a club. Last season he was on the bench for the Go Ahead Eagles. Now he plays for Heerenveen and it was his first cap, at the age of 28.
Standing 6ft 8in, he is the tallest player in the tournament in Qatar and the second Dutch footballer to debut in a World Cup final. The other was Dick Schoenaker, an Ajax midfielder, who earned his first cap in the 1978 final in Argentina.
Senegal: E. Mendy, Diallo (Jakobs 62), Koulibaly, Cissé, Sabaly, N. Mendy, Gueye, Diatta (Jackson 74), Kouyaté (Pape Gueye 74), Sarr, Dia (Dieng 69).
Reserve: Idrissa Gueye, N.Mendy.
Administrator: Aliou Cisse
Holland: Noppert, Blind, Ake, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Dumfries, De Jong, Berghuis (Koopmeiners 79), Gakpo, Bergwijn (Klaasen 79), Janssen (Depay 62).
Scorers: Gakpo 84, Klaasen 90+8
Administrator: Louis van Gaal
Noppert showed no signs of nerves. He was calm when Ismaila Sarr and Boulaye Dia fired shots wide of his goal in the first half and made three fine saves in the second.
The first two he made 0-0. Descend quickly to his left to save at his first post from Dia on the turn. Then he pushed back a snapshot shot sharply, straight in his face, by Idrissa Gueye.
Seconds after Gapko’s goal, Noppert made his best save of the game to protect the lead. He was low to his left, tight against a post, to deny Senegalese substitute Pape Gueye.
Then the goalkeeper joked about being like Van Gaal. “That doesn’t mean he can become a coach,” said the Netherlands boss. “But I understand what he meant.
“He has an open personality, quite direct and straightforward, that’s what he meant but you’re not coached for that, you’re coached for quality. He had to save three balls and he did it perfectly.
The Netherlands created little in the first half and when they broke through the Senegalese defense they were guilty of over-elaboration in front of goal. Gapko chose not to shoot when he was well placed, preferring to cut a square pass to Steven Bergwijn.
But his pass was out of reach for Bergwijn, who started up front with fellow Tottenham misfit Vincent Janssen, who now plays at his Belgium soccer club Royal Antwerp.
A good chance fell on De Jong in the penalty area in the first half but, like Gapko, he too complicated the situation too much. Senegal rushed to recover quickly and oust him as he tried twice to get the ball over his right foot.
Janssen gave way to Depay, who is coming back from a thigh injury and not fit enough to start. With him on and Senegal tiring, Hollande has another attacking dimension.
“Memphis played an important role,” said Van Gaal, adding that his next step was to move to 45 minutes against Ecuador, if he faced no reaction.
Gakpo was Holland’s star performer as he underlined his status as one of Europe’s hottest properties
Frenkie De Jong had a few chances throughout the game but made them too complicated
Steven Berghuis whistled 20 yards over Mendy’s goal towards the end of the first half and Van Dijk climbed unopposed to meet a corner kick, early in the second, but not high enough to pass the ball and keep his head down.
Noppert held on and Gapko shattered the African champions’ hopes before Klaassen added to their heartbreak.
“We managed the game well,” said Senegal coach Aliou Cissé, who lost Nottingham Forest’s Abdou Diallo and Cheikhou Kouyate to injuries in the second half. “We had a definite plan, pressing them high but eventually tired and had to step back and strengthen in midfield.
“We had counter-attacks and created chances, but we didn’t score. With two players injured and it became a big challenge. We lost a bit of intensity at that point. We are disappointed because we deserved better.
Recap all of Senegal’s action against Holland below.
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