Arjen Robben scored two goals as Netherlands beat Wales 3-2 in a five-goal thriller at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night.
The home side twice managed to fight back after going a goal up, but they had no reply to Robben’s second goal of the evening in the 81st minute.
Bas Dost opened the scoring around the half-hour mark, yet Joe Ledley restored parity on the stroke of half-time when he tapped home the rebound from Joe Allen’s saved penalty.
Robben then found the net in the second half after a trademark run down the right, only for Emyr Huws to once more level the scoring after a clever corner. Another Robben strike eventually made the difference in Netherlands’ favour, though.
The Dutch were first to threaten in the 16th minute after a cautious start from both sides. Terence Kongolo sent in a fine cross for Dost, but the Wolfsburg striker failed to get enough power on his header as Wayne Hennessey easily collected the ball.
Wales then looked dangerous via Tom Lawrence after a fine pass from Allen, but the 21-year-old’s attempt was too weak to trouble Jasper Cillessen between the posts.
Robben was next to try his luck for the visitors after some sloppy play from Allen in midfield. The attacker went past Ashley Williams before hitting a shot from 20 yards out, yet he fired too high and the chance went begging.
Netherlands did go a goal ahead after 32 minutes following a sublime team move. Quincy Promes released Daryl Janmaat, who sent in a perfect cross from the right for Dost at the far post and the towering striker found the net with a free header from six yards.
The referee awarded Wales a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Kongolo was judged to have handled the ball inside his area. Allen had his attempt saved by Cillessen, who kept out a spot-kick for the first time in his career, only for Ledley to tap home the rebound.
Robben came close to restoring Netherlands’ lead immediately following the restart after being played through by Sneijder, but Hennessey once more showed class with a fine save.
There was no denying the Bayern man in the 55th minute, though. The 31-year-old cut inside from the right after a good run down the wing, before beating the Wales goalkeeper with a calm left-footed finish.
George Williams nearly levelled the scoring again at the hour mark after a good low cross from the right from Lawrence, but the substitute slid it inches wide from just yards out.
The hosts would get a second equaliser in the 72nd minute after a clever corner. Allen curled in a sublime cross for Huws and the 22-year-old beat Cillessen with a powerful header.
Robben should have doubled his personal tally in the 79th minute after a cross from the right found its way into his feet after taking a deflection, but he volleyed wide from 10 yards out.
He made amends shortly after, however, as he beat Owain Fon Williams with a cool finish after an assist from Dost to make it 3-2 with his 30th goal for Oranje.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!