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Melis provides zest for vibrant Oranje

Published: Saturday 27 September 2008, 12.40CET
Netherlands 3-0 Belgium
Manon Melis scored twice and won a penalty for the third as the Oranje won the Low Countries derby to climb to ensure a play-off place.
by Berend Scholten
Melis provides zest for vibrant Oranje
The Netherlands are one two-legged tie away from the finals ©Leo Soeters
Published: Saturday 27 September 2008, 12.40CET

Melis provides zest for vibrant Oranje

Netherlands 3-0 Belgium
Manon Melis scored twice and won a penalty for the third as the Oranje won the Low Countries derby to climb to ensure a play-off place.

The Netherlands will progress to the play-offs from Group 4 for the 2009 UEFA European Women's Championship after defeating Belgium 3-0 in their final qualifier on Saturday.

Early chances
The Oranje made a determined start in Volendam, creating early openings for Manon Melis and Sylvia Smit which neither player took. Melis made amends with 16 minutes played, though, as she teased her way beyond two defenders on the left before cutting in and firing the ball into the right corner of the net. The same player then hit the post with a lobbed shot, and Belgium were glad to go in at the break just a goal down, knowing a draw would leave them in second place and keep their hopes alive.

Inspirational Melis
That changed in the 51st minute when Smit teed up Melis for the forward's second goal, while Melis also played a part in the third – earning a penalty which Karin Stevens converted on the hour. The Dutch jump two places to second, a position they will retain to reach the play-offs unless Switzerland become the first team to defeat pool winners Germany on Wednesday. But even then the Netherlands will progress as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Last updated: 06/10/08 18.07CET

Related information

http://www.uefa.com/womenseuro/matches/season=2009/round=2381/match=85464/postmatch/report/index.html#melis+provides+zest+vibrant+oranje