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Netherlands bounce back with Slovakia scalp

Netherlands 2-0 Slovakia
The Oranje responded to Saturday's friendly defeat against Bulgaria by comfortably downing Slovakia in Rotterdam.

Rafael van der Vaart enjoys scoring the Netherlands' second against Slovakia
Rafael van der Vaart enjoys scoring the Netherlands' second against Slovakia ©AFP

The Netherlands bounced back from Saturday's friendly defeat against Bulgaria by sweeping Slovakia aside and registering a morale-boosting victory in Rotterdam.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk shuffled his pack and the changes made an early impact as visiting defender Kornel Saláta turned into his own net after home pressure. Chances came and went for the Dutch before substitute Rafael van der Vaart wrapped it up with fifteen minutes to go. The Oranje contest their final warm-up game against Northern Ireland on Saturday before heading out for UEFA EURO 2012.

Joris Mathijsen left his coach with worries over his fitness after suffering a muscle injury against Bulgaria at the weekend, and his replacement fared little better. Wilfred Bouma clashed heads with John Heitinga just minutes in and though the PSV Eindhoven man lasted to the interval he was sent to hospital for a scan, providing more problems for Van Marwijk.

Ibrahim Afellay was handed a start and did not take long to impress. Good movement from the FC Barcelona forward opened space on the left and his teasing cross was turned in by the unfortunate Saláta after eight minutes.

Robin van Persie, employed in a central position after his adventure on the flank at the weekend, worked well with Afellay and Arjen Robben as Slovakia were dragged all over the field but openings were not taken.

There were more frowns among Dutch fans after the interval as Wesley Sneijder departed with a knock to his ankle, though his replacement grabbed the chance to impress. Van der Vaart first rattled the crossbar from a free-kick before rifling in a diagonal shot after fine work from fellow replacement Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.