Quincy Promes scored a stunning equaliser as Netherlands continued the early stages of Ronald Koeman’s reign with a 1-1 draw against Slovakia.
The Dutch made a slow start in Trnava on Thursday, but looked increasingly comfortable on the ball and dangerous in attack as Koeman’s third game in charge progressed.
With neither side having qualified for the World Cup, this was an opportunity for the former Everton boss and opposite number Jan Kozak to experiment at Stadion Antona Malatinskeho.
Regardless, the game was played at a lively tempo and in a competitive manner after Adam Nemec headed Slovakia into an early lead from Marek Hamsik’s excellent left-wing cross.
Slovakia had chances to extend their advantage, with Juraj Kucka’s drive thudding against the crossbar, but Netherlands drew level after the interval through the impressive Promes.
The Spartak Moscow forward picked up the ball around 30 yards out, advanced on goal and bent a fantastic shot past new Newcastle United signing Martin Dubravka.
3 – Quincy Promes had only three shots on target in his last nine games with the Dutch national team, but managed to score with each one of them. Picky.
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) May 31, 2018
Slovakia took the lead in the eighth minute, scoring from the first chance of the match.
After a break down the left wing, captain Hamsik found space to deliver a beauty of a ball to the back post, Nemec outjumping Daley Blind easily to power a header past Jeroen Zoet.
The hosts continued to threaten, Hamsik flashing a header wide before Kucka’s speculative swerving drive crashed back off the bar with Zoet well beaten.
Netherlands finally created a chance in the 33rd minute, but Stefan de Vrij headed Blind’s right-wing corner over, then Memphis Depay’s dipping free-kick forced a fine save from Dubravka.
With Koeman’s men growing in confidence left-back Patrick van Aanholt cut inside, collected a pass from Davy Propper and fired a rocket narrowly over Dubravka’s crossbar.
Netherlands sent on Ruud Vormer for his debut at the interval and they produced an equaliser out of the top drawer in the 59th minute.
— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) May 31, 2018
Memphis Depay burst through the Slovakia midfield and slipped a pass to Promes, who whipped a super strike out of Dubravka’s reach from 25 yards.
A cute Promes backheel led to nothing and Dubravka denied Vormer a memorable first appearance in the closing stages.
But a fiery encounter ended with honours even after Depay sent two stoppage-time efforts straight at Dubravka.
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