Netherlands survived a scare Tuesday to beat Hungary 5-3 and maintain its 100% record in European Championship qualifying.
Hungary scored twice in five minutes at the start of the second half to lead 2-1. Wesley Sniejder equalized and veteran striker Ruud van Nistelrooy put the Dutch ahead, but Hungary playmaker Zoltan Gera made it 3-3 with 15 minutes left to again threaten the Group E leader.
Dirk Kuyt secured victory with two goals in the last 12 minutes to take the Netherlands to 18 points from six matches, nine clear of Hungary and on the verge of a place in next year’s tournament.
Netherlands, which opened the scoring in the 13th through Robin van Persie, is still on course to qualify but coach Bert van Marwijk lamented the defensive frailties of a side that reached last year’s World Cup final. While Robin van Persie faces another injury lay-off. The striker was forced off with a knee injury before half time of Holland’s incredible 5-3 win over Hungary in their Euro 2012 Group E qualifying tie in Amsterdam. Van Persie had opened the scoring for Holland after 13 minutes but was forced to leave the field a minute before the interval following a late tackle by Vilmos Vanczak.
“You need to have discipline,” van Marwijk said. “We started well, scored a quick goal but then things changed. We kept losing the ball unnecessarily.” Van Persie, who has suffered from knee problems in the past, was not too badly injured, according to Holland coach Bert Van Marwijk. ‘It didn’t look very serious but it was too painful for him to carry on as he was hit by a knee just above his own knee,’ the coach said.
Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt’s late double secured victory for Holland to give the Dutch a 14th consecutive victory in qualifying matches after Hungary hit back to draw level at 3-3 at one stage.
The Netherlands, which last week beat Hungary 4-0 with its crisp passing game, produced a disjointed performance and struggled to counter a well-organized Hungarian attack.
Copyright 2011 by Suffian Yans
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