Weghorst and Gakpo help stuttering Dutch past Ireland

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Weghorst and Gakpo help stuttering Dutch past Ireland
Updated
Wout Weghorst runs to celebrate his goal in the orange of the Netherlands
Wout Weghorst runs to celebrate his goal in the orange of the Netherlands
AFP
The Republic of Ireland gave the Netherlands a huge fright in Dublin, but their hopes of reaching a first major tournament since Euro 2016 took another hit after a spirited 2-1 defeat. Goals either side of half-time saw Ronald Koeman’s side come from behind to earn their third victory of the qualifying campaign.

The hosts, who were much improved on Thursday’s defeat to France, took a shock lead with just four minutes on the clock when a cross into the box brushed Virgil van Dijk on the arm, allowing Adam Idah to clinically dispatch the resulting penalty.

Undeterred by that early setback, the favour was soon returned, with Ireland keeper Gavin Bazunu scything down Denzel Dumfries, as Cody Gakpo stepped up and fired home from the spot.

Despite that costly mistake, Bazunu redeemed himself shortly afterwards by making a strong save from Donyell Malen, while Stephen Kenny’s side continued to push at the other end as Alan Browne curled a long-range free-kick narrowly wide and Chiedozie Ogbene had a fierce drive blocked.

With half-time approaching, the Oranje looked to take the lead, but Malen had another effort thwarted, while Xavi Simons powered over from outside the box.

The Dutch continued to impress after the break, and only a stunning tackle from Browne prevented Simons from pulling the trigger near the penalty spot. A goal didn’t look far away though, and super-sub Wout Weghorst duly delivered when he fired the visitors in front for the first time, converting from Dumfries’ cross.

Ireland threw players forward in the final 20 minutes, leading to an end-to-end conclusion to the game. And while the hosts attacked with plenty of intent, the visitors were resolute, meaning the Boys in Green failed to create a chance of note in their attempts to level.

The result ultimately leaves Ireland with just three points from five games, six points behind their opponents, and a dozen off group leaders France.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands)

Ireland - Netherlands player ratings
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Greece kept pace with the Netherlands in the race for second spot in Group B of Euro 2024 qualifying with a routine 5-0 victory over Gibraltar - West Ham's new defensive reinforcement Konstantinos Mavropanos getting on the scoresheet twice, as did Georgios Masouras. 

Elsewhere around Europe, Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a first-half hat-trick for Serbia as they dispatched Lithuania 3-1 in Kaunas.

Meanwhile, Albania moved top of Group B with a stunning 2-0 home win over pre-qualifying group favourites Poland thanks, in part, to a wonderful finish from Jasir Asani. 

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