Georginio Wijnaldum and Wesley Sneijder scored as the Netherlands returned to winning ways in Group A, beating Kazakhstan 2-1 in Astana to keep their UEFA EURO 2016 hopes alive.
Danny Blind introduced three debutants in Kenny Tete, Virgil van Dijk and Anwar El Ghazi, but left Oranje leading marksman Robin van Persie on the bench after losing his first two games as coach without scoring in September.
Needing a victory to keep the pressure on third-placed Turkey – occupiers of the play-off berth – the Dutch took the initiative from the off. On seven minutes El Ghazi forced Kazakhstan goalkeeper Stas Pokatilov into a save before nodding wide shortly after. The hosts responded via Konstantin Engel, although their only shot on target of the first half failed to trouble Dutch custodian Tim Krul.
The Netherlands kept on pushing and on 30 minutes Memphis Depay squandered a glorious opening when clean through, the winger unable to test Pokatilov. Three minutes later, though, Wijnaldum broke the deadlock. The Newcastle midfielder found the bottom corner from outside the box with a left-footed drive after good work by El Ghazi.
Things did not improve for Kazakhstan as the visitors extended their lead shortly after the interval. Skipper Sneijder latched onto Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's pass inside the area before firing a left-footed effort into the centre of the goal. El Ghazi was denied a maiden goal moments later as Yuri Krasnozhan's charges cleared his attempt off the line.
With the points seemingly assured, Van Persie came on to make his 100th appearance, though the Dutch were given a fright when Islambek Kuat struck a 96th-minute Kazakh consolation. Even so, Blind's men held on to at least take the race for third into the final matchday. Turkey, though, need just a point to deny the Oranje a place at their eighth straight UEFA European Championship.
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