It appeared Senegal and the Netherlands were content with a scoreless draw in their Group A opener at the 2022 FIFA World Cup but Cody Gakpo’s late winner was followed by an insurance goal from Davy Klaasen in the final seconds for a 2-0 Oranje victory. Gakpo headed in an excellent cross from Frenkie De Jong to give the Dutch the lead in the 84th minute, giving them a result to move level with Ecuador at the top of Group A. Senegal will face hosts Qatar on Friday in a match the Lions of Teranga must win while Netherlands take on Ecuador.
The two teams cancelled each other out for long stretches in a tactical battle but got off to an energetic start. Ismaïla Sarr showed his willingness to be the star player for the Senegalese, curling his shot over the bar in the 9th minute. A couple of minutes later De Jong had an excellent look in the penalty area after being set up by Steven Berghuis but was unable to get his shot off when a crowd of retreating Senegalese defenders swarmed the FC Barcelona midfielder.
A largely uneventful first half saw a couple of half chances for both teams including a curled effort from Sarr that has headed clear by Dutch captain Virgil Van Dijk but neither team looked likely to score. There was a notable lack of energy and attacking movement as both teams seemed content with a draw to start their World Cup campaigns. Of note was the substitution of Senegal left back Abdou Diallo for German-born Ismail Jakobs, reported by media to be ineligible for the match due to an administrative error but apparently any issues were cleared up.
After a long stretch with little opportunity for either team in the second half the final twenty minutes, Sarr sparked the match back to life in the 73rd minute with a run down the left wing and low cross for Idrissa Gana Gueye whose shot was parried away by Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert. Ten minutes later the decisive moment came when De Jong collected the ball on the left wing and had plenty of time to cross and pick out the run of Gakpo who flicked his header past charging Senegal keeper Édouard Mendy and into an empty net.
Senegal substitute Pape Gueye nearly leveled soon after but his low shot was well saved by Noppert. The Netherlands put the match away at the end of a nine minute stoppage time session when substitute Memphis Depay got out on the break, sending a shot that was pushed away by Mendy but into the path of Klaasen for a rebound effort that Mendy could not keep out.