World Cup: Mendy howlers gift Netherlands 2-0 win over Senegal

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Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group A - Senegal v Netherlands - Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar - November 21, 2022 Netherlands' Davy Klaassen celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Molly Darlington

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 and headed Netherlands into the lead.

And Klaassen was on hand to convert from close range after Edouard Mendy spilled a Memphis Depay shot to give Netherlands all three points against the African champions at the Al Thumama Stadium.

Netherlands face Ecuador in their second group game on Friday, November 25, at 4pm, with Senegal playing host-nation Qatar earlier the same day at 1pm.

The winners of Group A will face the runners-up from Group B, containing England, Wales, USA and Iran. The runner-up in Group A will face the winners of Group B.

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