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2018 World Cup Qualifying - UEFA, Group Stage
  • Maxime Chanot (44' PEN)
  • Arjen Robben (36')
  • Memphis Depay (58', 84')

Memphis Depay double sparks Netherlands past Luxembourg

Memphis Depay scored two second-half goals to spare Netherlands' blushes in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying win in Luxembourg.

Manchester United winger Depay struck in the 58th and 84th minutes after replacing Wesley Sneijder at the interval to lift Netherlands above Sweden into second place in Group A.

It was a far from convincing display by Danny Blind's side, who opened the scoring after 36 minutes through Arjen Robben, only to be pegged back by Luxembourg just before the break when defender Maxine Chanot converted a penalty.

Robben had an effort well saved by Luxembourg goalkeeper Ralph Schon, who then denied Georginio Wijnaldum as Netherlands went in search of an early breakthrough.

Robben and Virgil van Dijk both headed wide, but poor execution in the final third and Luxembourg's dogged defending left the Dutch frustrated.

Davy Klaassen had a shot saved by Schon and then headed just over before Robben fired home the opening goal in the 36th minute.

Van Dijk and Klaassen combined to send Robben clear on the right side of the penalty area and he fired a low right-footed shot into the bottom corner as referee Anthony Taylor waved away home appeals for offside.

But Luxembourg rallied and went in level at the interval thanks to a bustling run from striker Daniel da Mota, who was shoved to the ground by Netherlands defender Joshua Brenet inside the left edge of the area having raced on to a through ball.

Chanot confidently despatched the resulting penalty, sending Maarten Stekelenburg the wrong way and into the keeper's bottom right-hand corner.

Van Dijk's header early in the second half was inches wide before Depay headed home Daley Blind's cross from close range to put the Dutch back in front.

Netherlands, who failed to make Euro 2016, were under pressure heading into the game as anything less than victory at the 8,000-capacity Stade Josy Barthel would have left them with a mountain to climb in order to qualify.

Luxembourg, who warmed up for the World Cup qualifier with a 4-2 friendly defeat to Belgian side KV Mechelen in midweek, picked up their first point of the qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw in Belarus in their previous qualifying match and they continued to make Netherlands toil.

Home striker Mario Mutsch's shot from outside the area was blocked before Netherlands substitute Steven Berghuis' effort was kept out by Schon.

Netherlands still only led by a single goal going into the closing stages, but Depay eased their nerves by drilling a free kick into the bottom corner after Chanot had fouled van Dijk within striking distance.

WC Qual - UEFA News