AMSTERDAM - Dirk Kuyt's late double
spared Netherlands blushes on Tuesday as they escaped from a
night of defensive havoc with a 5-3 victory over Hungary to stay
on course for next year's Euro 2012 finals.
The Liverpool striker struck after 78 and 81 minutes to give
the Dutch a 14th consecutive victory in qualifying matches after
Hungary had hit back from an early setback to threaten an upset
in a thrilling Group E encounter.
They lead the group with a maximum 18 points, although the
sight of Robin van Persie going off with a knee injury was a
worry for the Dutch and his club Arsenal.
"Matches like this you won't see often," Dutch coach Bert
van Marwijk, whose side thrashed Humgary 4-0 in Budapest at the
weekend, told reporters.
"Attractive for the crowd with a lot goals but it was very
tough as we had to come back from two setbacks.
"We started well but after we failed to add a second. We had
the chances but our game became inaccurate and careless and that
gave them the feeling something was possible tonight."
Van Persie opened the scoring after 13 minutes when two
Hungarian defenders failed to clear a corner kick and the
striker netted at the near post.
However, he was forced off a minute before half-time when he
was injured in a tackle by Vilmos Vanczak.
Hungary took advantage of a sloppy start to the second half
by the hosts to turn the match on its head.
First Gergely Rudolf dribbled into the area and his shot
deflected into the net off Rafael van der Vaart and four minutes
later a fine cross from Balazs Dzsudzsak was volleyed home by
Playmaker Wesley Sneijder equalised on the hour after a
lucky one-two with Vanczak and 12 minutes later Ruud van
Nistelrooy put the Dutch ahead with a deflected shot after a
superb solo run by Ibrahim Afellay.
Gera equalised with 15 minutes remaining after more Dutch
uncertainty at the back but Kuyt volleyed his side back ahead
from an Afellay cross and sealed the points with a flukey lob
over the stranded Hungary keeper Marton Fulop.
Van Persie, who has suffered from knee problems in the past,
was not too badly injured, according to Van Marwijk.
"It didn't look very serious but it was too painful for him
to carry on as he was hit by a knee just above his own knee,"
the coach said.
After an encouraging start to their qualifying campaign
Hungary are now in third spot with nine points from six games,
level with Sweden who beat Moldova 2-1 and who have played two
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