By Berend Scholten
Two goals in the final four minutes gave the Netherlands a priceless victory against Romania that throws UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 1 wide open.
First-placed Romania were hoping to extend their one-point lead over the Czech Republic, not in action tonight, but the Dutch knew they could draw level with the team in second if they prevailed in Rotterdam, and the home team dominated against their physically tough visitors.
Twenty minutes in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was sent through on goal, but denied by the visiting custodian. It seemed that would be the best Dutch chance, but with time running out when Feyenoord midfielder Nicky Hofs struck and Huntelaar confirmed the win in the final minute, crucially matching Romania’s 2-0 win against the Netherlands in March to cancel out their head-to-head advantage.
The Dutch, who only trail the Czechs on goal difference but have played a game more, visit Finland on Tuesday. Romania, on who the Czechs have two matches in hand, wait until Wednesday before welcoming Armenia - by which stage they could have fallen to third if the Dutch defeat the Finns and the Czechs overcome F.Y.R. Macedonia.