Dutch survive scare to earn Hiddink's first win


Netherlands came from behind to beat Kazakhstan 3-1 at the Amsterdam ArenA to get their Euro 2016 Group A campaign up and running. The World Cup semi-finalists had lost their opening match away to the Czech Republic and a shock looked on the cards when Guus Hiddink's side fell behind to an early header from Renat Abdulin. However, the Oranje's sustained pressure eventually told when substitite Klaas Jan Huntelaar equalised just after the hour. Kazakhstan were soon reduced to 10 men when Baurzhan Dzholchiev clattered into Ibrahim Afellay, whose deflected shot put the Dutch ahead with eight minutes left. Captain Robin van Persie added a late third from the penalty spot. It had, though, been a disastrous start for the home side as Kazakhstan, who recorded a goalless draw at home to Latvia in their opening Group A fixture, took the lead on 17 minutes when Abdulin's diving header from a corner went in off the underside of the crossbar. Netherlands – winners of their last 17 competitive matches on home soil – immediately went on the offensive, as Van Persie's angled chip floated just over and was then denied by a smart save from Kazakhstan goalkeeper Alexandr Mokin. Hiddink's side continued to press, but simply ran into a sea of blue shirts on the edge of the penalty area. Jeremain Lens fired wide after another ball through a crowded six-yard box as the frustrations of the home support at the Amsterdam ArenA grew after the Oranje struggled to break down a team ranked 127th in the world. The one-way traffic continued after the restart, with Afellay drilling wide from 25 yards. Hiddink made a positive change on 55 minutes as Schalke forward Huntelaar replaced Nigel de Jong. Van Persie dragged a shot across the face of goal after spinning away from marker Ilya Vorotnikov in the left side of the Kazakhstan area, with Huntelaar unmarked at the far post. The equaliser finally came on 62 minutes when Huntelaar guided a downward header from a deep cross by Afellay into the far corner. Kazakhstan lost composure and were reduced to 10 men when Dzholchiev went through the back of Afellay and was shown a straight red card by Slovenian referee Matej Jug. Robben struck the crossbar with a curling 20-yard free-kick before Huntelaar produced a brilliant take down and shot on the turn, but was denied at point-blank range by the over-worked Mokin. The Kazakhstan keeper, though, could do little to prevent Netherlands going ahead with eight minutes left when a low 20-yard effort from Afellay deflected off the boot of Abdulin and into the bottom right corner. Van Persie made it 3-1 from the penalty spot on 89 minutes after the United striker was tripped by Abdulin. Robben's curling effort in stoppage time was ruled out for offside, which looked marginal, but the points were already secure.