Dutch ease past Cameroon
Posted: 24 June 2010 Time: 22:29
The Netherlands ensured their status as group leaders after a 2-1 win against Cameroon at Cape Town Stadium on Thursday night.
The first chance of the match was for Cameroon after five minutes. The Dutch defence allowed Aurelien Chedjou too much space about 25 yards out and the defender opted to try his luck with a powerful long range shot. Maarten Stekelenburg was alert though and picked up the shot with ease.
The Dutch then finally created a good chance halfway the first half. Rafael van der Vaart found Robin van Persie in the centre of the pitch and the Arsenal striker controlled the ball well. However, his shot was too weak to trouble the Cameroonian goalie. Oranje came close again only minutes later. Van der Vaart found Sneijder inside the area with a brilliant back-heel, but the Inter star hesitated too long and his shot was blocked by a defender.
The referee had no other choice but to award Netherlands a free kick after Stephane M'Bia climbed all over Van der Vaart at the edge of the box. The Real Madrid playmaker stepped up to take it himself, but his low shot past the wall was saved by Hamidou.
The Netherlands then cut through the Cameroon defence without doing anything particularly special down the right. Nevertheless, Dirk Kuyt tugged his shot across goal as he tried to score on the turn.
Holland broke the deadlock after 36 minutes of play. Van Persie exchanged a one-two with Van der Vaart deep in Cameroon's half and the Arsenal striker coolly slotted home with a low shot at the far post.
Geremi caused the Dutch defence all kinds of trouble with a dangerous cross from the right minutes before the interval. Heitinga missed the header, allowing Samuel Eto'o to control the ball. However, the prolific hitman's first touch let him down and Stekelenburg picked up the loose ball.
Again Eto'o was close to levelling the score after a superb through pass from Landry N'Guemo, but Stekelenburg was once again alert and rushed off his line to intercept the pass.
Netherlands came close to doubling their lead minutes after the break. A great angled pass from Sneijder found Van Persie in a dangerous position. The Arsenal star unleashed a shot from 20 yards out, but Hamidou saved the right footed shot with ease.
Wonderful play from Eto'o led to a chance for the Africans at the hour mark. From nothing he accelerated through a couple of challenges, bulldozed his way by one more in the box but had his shot blocked behind by a defender. The resulting corner found N'Guemo, but he midfielder aimed his shot wide of the target.
Jean Makoun then really should have levelled the score after great work from Aboubakar. The youngster went by several opponents before setting up the Olympique Lyon star, but Stekelenburg pulled off a superb save to deny Makoun.
Eto'o did score the equalizer in the 66th minute. The referee pointed to the spot after Van der Vaart touched the ball with his arm inside the area and Eto'o calmly slotted home from twelve yards.
A great delivery from Van der Vaart invited Nigel de Jong to attack it minutes after the equalizer, but he couldn't connect properly with the ball, which went out for a goal kick.
Netherlands got a free kick in a dangerous position about ten minutes before the final whistle. Sneijder whipped in a low cross, but Rigobert Song cleared it for a corner before Klaas-Jan Huntelaar got to it.
Oranje were not giving up that easy though and Huntelaar restored his side's lead in the 84th minute. Sneijder found Arjen Robben with an intelligent through pass and the Bayern Munich star hit the upright with a placed shot. The rebound fell to Huntelaar and the Milan hitman calmly slotted home.
Oranje should have had a penalty of their own in the dying minutes of the match. Robben's through ball picked out Huntelaar, who's the victim of a clumsy challenge from Mbia. The referee waved play on though.