Gakpo, Klassen strike down Senegal …in Qatar World Cup Group A opener

The Netherlands seized the advantage in World Cup Group A as goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen sealed a 2-0 win over African champions Senegal yesterday.

The Lions of Teranga missed their talisman, Bayern Munich star Sadio Mane, at the tourna­ment and though they battled hard, could not find a way past the debutant Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert.

The win puts the Oranje, three times World Cup finalists, in a strong position in the group, with matches against Ecuador and hosts Qatar to come.

A disappointing match at Al Thumama Stadium was played in front of plenty of empty seats, despite organisers’ claims that the country was gripped by World Cup fever.

However, the attendance was given as 41,721 – more than the stadium is actually listed to hold.

The goal the Dutch craved finally arrived with six minutes of normal time to go, as Frenkie de Jong swung in a ball from the left and Gakpo beat Chelsea goal­keeper Edouard Mendy to it to head home.

It was no less than the PSV Eindhoven man deserved after an impressive performance.

Substitute Pape Gueye almost responded instantly for Senegal, but again Noppert got down well to a low shot.

Eight minutes of injury time were added, and the Dutch sealed victory in the final seconds when Mendy spilled a shot from Mem­phis Depay and fellow substitute Klaassen followed up to slot home the rebound. —Independent

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