The Netherlands opened their qualifying campaign for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship with a 1-0 victory against Bulgaria.
On the first day of Group 10 action on the road to Israel 2013, it was the Dutch who got off to the ideal start in Lovech. Substitute Genero Zeefuik did the damage, coming off the bench midway through the second half and striking the decisive blow 12 minutes from time. Cor Pot's team, who go to Luxembourg on Wednesday, are second in the section behind Austria.
Bulgaria resume their campaign in Scotland on Monday no doubt rueful over how close they came to flying out of the blocks on Thursday. Alexandar Tonev twice came close to putting them in front in the first half, hitting the bar with a powerful shot after ten minutes before being denied by Jeroen Zoet's wonderful stop nine minutes from the break.
The Netherlands were themselves denied by the woodwork soon after when Jerson Cabral struck a post. It was Bulgaria, though, who again took the initiative in the second half, with captain Aleksandar Tsvetkov this time the one thwarted by Zoet after an impressive break into the penalty area. The Dutch No1's fine work was rewarded when Zeefuik headed in Jordy Clasie's free-kick.