By DAVIDSON ABRAHAM, Middle East
While the Netherlands continue their perfect record against African oppositions in the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, Senegal suffer their first defeat against an European opposition in the group stage of the FIFA World Cup.
Late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen gave Netherlands victory against Senegal in their opening Group A match of the 2022 World Cup. Gakpo made a perfectly timed run to head home a beautifully weighted cross from Frenkie de Jong, before Klaassen tapped home to seal the win deep into injury time.
De Jong had a chance to give the Dutch a first-half lead but was crowded out before Ismaila Sarr at the other end had a long-range shot diverted away from goal by Virgil van Dijk. Van Dijk should have given Netherlands the lead with a free header from a second-half corner, but the centre-back was unable to keep his effort down.
Boulaye Dia then forced an excellent save from debutant Andries Noppert, who got down well to tip a rasping shot past his near post. But just as it looked like both teams were going to have to settle for a share of the spoils, Gakpo beat the offside trap in the 84th minute and headed Netherlands into the lead.
Klaassen was on hand to convert from close range in the ninth minute of stoppage time after Edouard Mendy spilled a Memphis Depay shot to give Netherlands all three points against the African champions at the Al Thumama Stadium.