The goal that distinguished the Dutch on Monday came late, against the run of play and after several missed chances. But it granted them victory nonetheless against a stubborn Senegalese side that demonstrated, even without the forward Sadio Mane, the quality to emerge from a rugged Group A. The Netherlands leads that group after escaping Al Thumama Stadium as 2-0 winners over Senegal, going ahead in the 84th minute on a slick header by the ascending star Cody Gakpo, who timed his run across the box perfectly to glance a pass from Frenkie de Jong into the net.
In the final seconds of injury time, in the 99th minute, Davy Klaassen assured that the Dutch would stay atop Group A with Ecuador, which defeated Qatar on Sunday, by pouncing on a rebound. An exciting, eventful first half, loaded with Dutch opportunities, gave way to a torpid stretch after halftime that, until Gakpo’s goal, had tilted toward Senegal. Andries Noppert, the Dutch goalkeeper making his national team debut, turned aside a Boulaye Dia shot from the box and, in the 73rd, deflected a wicked strike from Idrissa Gana Gueye to keep the game scoreless.