Netherlands 3-2 Wales: Depay delivers again at the death

Stats Perform
Netherlands forward Memphis Depay
Netherlands forward Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay snatched a 3-2 Nations League victory for the Netherlands as late drama in Rotterdam denied Wales, who thought a late Gareth Bale penalty had secured a point.

First-half strikes from Noa Lang and Cody Gakpo put the hosts two up, but a Brennan Johnson goal and a stoppage-time Bale spot-kick looked to have earned Wales a draw.

However, Oranje talisman Depay subsequently grabbed a winner to spark wild celebrations in the home ranks.

A third victory in four matches at the end of a long season continued a strong Nations League campaign for the Netherlands, who remain top of the group while Wales are bottom and winless.

This looked like being a routine Netherlands win when Lang put his side in front after 17 minutes following a clever turn in the box that made the space to rifle home.

Gakpo then made it 2-0 soon after, as he drove into the area and curled into the far corner after his initial effort was blocked.

However, Johnson quickly halved the deficit, sliding a shot past Jasper Cillessen into the bottom corner.

Gakpo stung the palms of Wayne Hennessey with a powerful effort minutes after the interval, and Wales nearly fell further behind when Vincent Janssen forced a brilliant save from the visiting goalkeeper.

Wales manager Rob Page brought on Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale and must have thought those changes had rescued a point when Tyrell Malacia bundled over Connor Roberts in the box in stoppage time, with Bale dispatching his penalty.

There was to be further drama, though, as Depay squeezed the winner beyond Hennessey with seconds remaining.

What does it mean? Oranje continue strong campaign

Victory for the Netherlands further boosts their hopes of reaching the Nations League finals next year and also strengthens their status as a threat to some of the favourites for the World Cup in Qatar.

Really, though, this game should have been more comfortable for the hosts, who made 10 changes from the 2-2 draw with Poland at the weekend. The Netherlands have now won all 10 of the games they have played against Wales.

Gakpo seizes opportunity

Gakpo was the star man for his side, scoring a fine goal but also supplying six key passes for team-mates – at least two more than any other player. He won 87.5 per cent of his duels, too, causing Wales problems throughout.

Chance missed for Smith

The introduction of Wales' big hitters almost resulted in a dramatic draw, with Ramsey on for Matt Smith just past the hour mark. The MK Dons midfielder had ensured a difficult outing, completing only 61.1 per cent of his passes and just 25.0 per cent in the opposition half.

What's next?

The Nations League resumes in September, when Netherlands will travel to play Poland while Wales face a tricky trip to Belgium.

Tags

WalesNetherlandsUEFA Nations League
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