Steven Berghuis and Luuk de Jong scored either side of half-time as the Netherlands got their World Cup qualifying back on track with a 2-0 home win over plucky Latvia on Saturday.
The Dutch were looking for a strong response after a shock 4-2 loss to Turkey in Istanbul on Wednesday at the start of their Group G campaign.
Yet despite a ferocious onslaught from kick-off – the Dutch had 11 attempts on target in the first 25 minutes – they took until past the half hour to score when Berghuis, who had waited until his 23rd cap for his first international goal, lashed home from the edge of the area.
Latvia defended heroically for most of the match, except at a 69th-minute corner when De Jong headed home the second.
The match was played in front of 5,000 spectators in the Amsterdam Arena as part of a government-supported study into the amount of contact in crowd situations.
- World Cup 2022 Euro Qualifiers: All you need to know
- World Cup latest | Fixtures | Results
- Watch live on Sky Sports Football Red Button
Meanwhile, Ozan Tufan scored two superb goals as Turkey cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win over Norway, who had substitute Kristian Thorstvedt sent off late on in the Group G World Cup qualifying clash on Saturday.
Playing their home game in Malaga due to coronavirus restrictions in Oslo, the Norwegians protested about the Qatar World Cup for the second time in four days by wearing t-shirts that called for human rights to be respected.
The players also held up their left hands, mirroring the international logo for human rights.
They quickly fell behind as Yusuf Yazici sliced their defence open down the left and put in a low cross for the late-arriving Tufan to rifle home in the fourth minute.
Alexander Sorloth could have put his side level in the 26th minute, but his powerful shot cannoned back off the post and it proved to be a costly miss when Caglar Soyuncu was left unmarked to head home Yazici’s corner two minutes later.
Sorloth and Erling Haaland went close from an early second-half corner but their night was effectively ended when Tufan netted Turkey’s third with a glorious curling shot that flew in at the far post to make it 3-0 just before the hour mark.
🇹🇷 Sum up this Turkey team in one word! 👇#WCQ pic.twitter.com/ZbJkhDrmYi
Haaland had the ball in the net shortly afterwards but his effort was ruled out for offside and Turkey held on for a comfortable win to top Group G with six points after two games, ahead of Montenegro on goal difference. Netherlands, who beat Latvia 2-0 are third on three points, with Norway fourth on goal difference.
Elsewhere, Croatia got their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign back on track after a first-half header by Mario Pasalic gave them a laboured 1-0 home win over Cyprus in Group H on Saturday with captain Luka Modric celebrating a record 135th international cap.
🇭🇷 Luka Modrić = Croatia's most capped player with 135 caps 👏
His best international moment? 🤔#WCQ pic.twitter.com/U3kooUnF6x
Modric broke the record set by former Croatia defender Darijo Srna and produced an industrious performance at Rujevica stadium as Croatia were made to work hard for their victory.
The result left the Croatians on three points from two games after their opening 1-0 defeat at Slovenia while Cyprus have one point after a 0-0 draw with Slovakia. Russia top the group with six points after they beat Slovenia 2-1 earlier on Saturday.
Croatia, the 2018 World Cup runners-up, laid siege to the Cypriots from the start but were confined to a flurry of crosses and several half-chances before Pasalic broke the deadlock in the 40th minute.
Mitrovic sets record as Serbia earn draw
Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic became his country’s all-time top scorer on 39 goals from 63 international appearances after he netted in a 2-2 home draw with Portugal in a thrilling 2022 World Cup Group A qualifier on Saturday.
The Serbians fought back from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils as Fulham striker Mitrovic pulled one back in the 46th minute and Filip Kostic levelled after a Diogo Jota double had given Portugal a 2-0 lead in the first half.
Liverpool forward Jota fired the European champions ahead with an 11th-minute header from a superb Bernardo Silva assist and added another in the 36th as he glanced home Cedric Soares’ cross from the right.
But Serbia roared back at their Rajko Mitic stadium and half-time substitute Nemanja Radonjic, who engineered both their goals, gave his markers a roasting after the break and also drew a fine save from Portugal goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
Serbia defender Nikola Milenkovic was sent off in stoppage time, having been shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on an opponent and Cristiano Ronaldo had a seemingly good goal denied seconds later.
Ronaldo beat Serbia ‘keeper Marko Dmitrovic to a long ball and side-footed it towards goal only for Stefan Mitrovic to clear it but television replays suggested it had crossed the line.
The result left both sides on four points from two games as Serbia edged Ireland 3-2 at home in their opening game on Wednesday while Portugal eked out a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan.
The outcome also made for a bittersweet milestone for Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who reached a rare milestone of 1,000 games as head coach at club and international level combined in his 33-year long career in the dugout.
Belgium fight back to draw in Prague
Romelu Lukaku’s second-half strike helped Belgium salvage a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic in an entertaining World Cup qualifier in which both sides were denied by the woodwork a number of times.
Lukas Provod gave the home side the lead with his first international goal just after the break when he gathered the ball in space and sent a long-range, right-footed strike past Belgium ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois.
But Lukaku levelled in the 60th minute when he turned defender Ondrej Celustka and sent a shot that deflected off the ‘keeper’s right leg into the net.
Both sides continued to attack in search of a winner with Kevin De Bruyne’s shot from the edge of the box hitting the woodwork in the 70th minute and Czech defender Jan Boril doing the same in the 84th minute.
Source: Read Full Article