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Kuyt kills off brave Hungary for Netherlands

Netherlands 5-3 Hungary
Two late Dirk Kuyt goals finally settled a thrilling encounter as the Netherlands moved nine points clear in Group E with a 100% record.

Dirk Kuyt celebrates scoring
Dirk Kuyt celebrates scoring ©Getty Images

Dirk Kuyt struck twice in the space of three minutes to finally turn a thrilling UEFA EURO 2012 Group E encounter in the Netherlands' favour after Hungary gave their hosts a scare.

Bert van Marwijk's side had beaten Hungary 4-0 away just four days ago, but they trailed for 11 second-half minutes against the same opponents, despite the visitors missing the suspended Zoltán Lipták and Ákos Elek. Liverpool FC striker Kuyt finally secured the win as he finished from a 78th-minute Ibrahim Afellay cross and then put a sweet 20-metre lob past Márton Fülöp.

Hungary had reason to fear the worst after Fülöp was beaten after 13 minutes, with John Heitinga heading Wesley Sneijder's corner on for Robin van Persie to tap in with his left foot. Van Persie looked to have set Kuyt up for a second soon afterwards, but he struck it wide, and Hungary duly responded with some verve, Gergely Rudolf testing Michel Vorm in the Netherlands goal.

What happened after the interval was nonetheless a big surprise. First, Rudolf exchanged passes with Balázs Dzsudzsák from a corner before his shot was deflected past Vorm by a combination of Rafael van der Vaart and Erik Pieters. Then, just four minutes later, Rudolf combined with Dzsudzsák on the left again, crossing for captain Zoltán Gera to put Hungary in front.

The Oranje looked momentarily stunned, but were handed a lifeline when Hungary midfielder Krisztián Vadócz inadvertently nudged Sneijder's ball back into the 26-year-old's path, and the FC Internazionale Milano man promptly hit the equaliser. Kuyt then set up substitute Ruud van Nistelrooy to score his 35th international goal after 72 minutes – a low, right-footed effort.

However, Hungary were not beaten yet. Three minutes later, Gera drove in his side's third of the night from Dzsudzsák's pass, but Kuyt was to have the final word, converting Afellay's cross from the left to restore the Dutch lead and then coming in from the right to send a splendid shot into the top left corner of the net to confirm victory.