Memphis Depay double seals victory for Netherlands against Luxembourg
World Cup qualifier, Group A, Stade Josy Barthel – Luxembourg 1 (Chanot 44 pen) Netherlands 3 (Robben 36, Depay 58, 84)
The Netherlands laboured to create many meaningful chances before the lively Arjen Robben broke the deadlock with a composed finish on his return to international duty. But a clumsy challenge from Jeffrey Bruma was punished from the spot by Maxime Chanot just before the break.
Things got worse for the visitors with the news that Robben could not take the field for the second half, the extent of an injury yet to be ascertained. It was just as well that his replacement, Memphis Depay, turned in a star performance with an assured header and sublime free kick to secure all three points.
Netherlands' Arjen Robben (C) celebrates after scoring a goal during the World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Luxembourg and Netherlands on November 13, 2016 at the Josy Barthel Stadium in Luxembourg.AFP
Victory for the Dutch means they leapfrog Sweden to second place behind France on goal difference but this far from convincing performance leaves more questions than answers in their bid for World Cup qualification.
Luxembourg are still stranded on a single point at the bottom of the group.
How bad is the Robben injury? The star man for Bayern and the Netherlands did not take to the pitch after the break and one only hopes it is a precautionary measure for a tight muscle.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Memphis Depay (Netherlands) One of the few bright sparks in an otherwise uninspiring Dutch team, his brace digging his team out of a sticky situation.
Netherland's Memphis Depay celebrates his goalReuters
Luxembourg: Schon 7; Malget 6, Chanot 7, Mahmutovic 6; Jans 6, Bensi 7, Philipps 6, Bohnert 6, Mutsch 6, Da Mota 7; Turpel 6. SUBS: Thill 6, Janisch 6, Kerger 6.
10’ – SCHON SAVE: The Luxembourg keeper does well to parry Robben’s shot and Sneijder fails to bury the rebound.
32’ – SAVE! Schon is alert again to deny Robben and Klassen puts the rebound over the bar.
36’ – GOAL! Luxembourg 0-1 Netherlands: Wijnaldum plays in Robben and it’s a typically composed finish from Robben. Looked like he may have been offside.
44’ – GOAL! Luxembourg 1-1 Netherlands: Chanot scores from the spot after Bruma had taken down Da Mota.
47’ – GREAT SAVE! The Luxembourg keeper has had a blinder, saving Klaasen’s header.
58’ – GOAL! Luxembourg 1-2 Netherlands: Depay meets Blind’s cross to head the Netherlands in front once more.
84’ – GOAL! Luxembourg 1-3 Netherlands: A sublime free kick from Depay seals the victory.
Memphis Depay is the first player to score a direct free-kick goal for Oranje since Arjen Robben vs Turkey in October 2013.
Only Vincent Janssen (5) has been involved in more goals for the Netherlands in 2016 than Memphis Depay (3 - 1 goal, 2 assists).
The Netherlands have failed to keep a clean sheet in 12 of their 14 competitive games since the 2014 World Cup.
Luxembourg have scored a goal against the Netherlands for the first time since 1963, 53 years ago.