Quincy Promes scored his first international goals as Netherlands sealed their first win of 2018 World Cup qualifying with a 4-1 victory over Belarus at De Kuip.
In his previous 14 Netherlands appearances Promes had failed to hit the back of the net, but he finally broke his duck when he squeezed a shot past three defenders and into the bottom-right corner in the 15th minute.
The 24-year-old winger netted his second with the help of a deflection before half-time, with Davy Klaassen adding to the hosts’ tally after Aleksei Rios had halved the deficit early in the second half.
Vincent Janssen capped a brilliant display when he slammed the ball into the top-right corner from 18 yards, and there was no way back for Aleksandr Khatskevich’s side, who were unable to test Maarten Stekelenburg, making his first international appearance since October 2012, in the Netherlands net again.
However, it was Promes who was the star of the show, ensuring the absence of Arjen Robben due to a rib injury was not keenly felt, though the withdrawal of Wesley Sneijder at half-time may provide Danny Blind with cause for concern ahead of Monday’s clash with France.
The defeat will be a blow for Belarus after opening their campaign with a goalless draw against France, but their next meeting with Luxembourg offers a chance to make up for lost ground.
Netherlands threatened down their right in the early stages and, after Janssen forced a save from Belarus goalkeeper Andrei Gorbunov and saw his shot from six yards blocked by Sergei Politevich, the breakthrough came.
Janssen moved out wide and fired in a cross that the visiting defence were unable to deal with, the loose ball falling to Promes who snuck a shot inside the near post.
Virgil van Dijk volleyed home in the centre of the area from Sneijder’s free-kick but the goal was incorrectly ruled out for offside, with Janssen the player standing in an illegal position at the back post.
The second came in the 31st minute when a corner was only cleared as far as Promes, whose 20-yard volley found the bottom-right corner with the help of a deflection off Ivan Maevski.
Sneijder, whose preparation for the match was hampered by a hamstring injury, was replaced by Davy Propper for the second half, while Belarus replaced Maevski with Aleksandr Hleb.
The visitors pulled one back within two minutes of the restart as Sergei Kornilenko spun Jeffrey Bruma and drilled a low cross in from the left that Rios tucked away.
However, Netherlands soon restored their two-goal cushion. A mistake on the edge of the box from Mikhail Sivakov allowed Promes to poke the ball to Janssen, whose 20-yard shot came back off the post but fell kindly for Klaassen to finish.
Janssen finally got on the scoresheet himself, bending a venomous left-footed shot in off the underside of the crossbar.
Georginio Wijnaldum was denied by the upright as Netherlands attempted to extend their advantage, but victory was secure and they were able to see out the closing stages comfortably.
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