Netherlands 3-2 Portugal: Danielle van de Donk stunner ensures defending champions survive scare

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Netherlands 3-2 Portugal: Danielle van de Donk stunner ensures defending champions survive scare
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Danielle van de Donk delivered a sensational strike to give Netherlands their first victory of Euro 2022 despite Portugal threatening a famous comeback.

Van de Donk’s 62nd-minute thunderbolt will go down as one of the goals of the tournament, the show-stopper in a riveting Group C game that saw the Netherlands claim a 3-2 win at Leigh Sports Village. But it was not at all plain sailing.

The Netherlands, who drew their opener against Sweden last weekend, were initially completely in charge charge and headers from Damaris Egurrola and Stefanie van der Gragt put them 2-0 ahead inside the opening 20 minutes.

Having come from two goals down to draw against Switzerland, Portugal were at it once more as Carole Costa’s penalty and Diana Silva’s header either side of half-time drew them level.

But Van de Donk ultimately had the final say, with the defending champions moving level with Sweden on four points while Portugal sit alongside Switzerland on one.

On the day she made her 146th international appearance to become Portugal’s most capped player, Ana Borges toe-poked home but celebrations were immediately halted by offside in the build-up.

Instead, Portugal found themselves in a familiar position after shipping two early goals, with a corner to the near post finding Egurrola, whose glancing header looped in at the far corner.

Portugal were once again undone at a set-piece as another corner was only half-cleared, with Lieke Martens’ drive deflected into the path of Van der Gragt to head beyond Ines Pereira.

Van der Gragt needed treatment to her nose after being unintentionally booted in the face by Catarina Amado, subsequently given a yellow card, but the Dutch defender was cleared to carry on.

An unmarked Van de Donk saw her side-footed volley drift wide while Costa cleared off the line as the one-way traffic continued, but soon after Portugal were given a lifeline.

Portugal halved the deficit from the penalty spot just before the break (AFP via Getty Images)
Portugal halved the deficit from the penalty spot just before the break (AFP via Getty Images)

Diana ghosted past Dominique Janssen in the area before stumbling over and a lengthy check with the video assistant referee indicated the Portuguese forward had taken a decisive knock to her trailing ankle.

Carole made no mistake with the 38th-minute spot-kick, unsettling the Dutch, who were sluggish at the start of the second half, with Daphne van Domselaar brilliantly tipping over Tatiana Pinto’s header.

While the corner was cleared, the Netherlands’ defenders were still out of position and Carole’s cross from the right allowed Diana to steal in ahead of Van der Gragt and head Portugal level after 47 minutes.

Jill Roord looked to have restored Holland’s lead just a couple of minutes later after slamming low into the net but VAR ruled out the goal for the tightest of offsides.

There would be no denying the Netherlands as they reclaimed the lead in some style, with Van de Donk’s curling effort from just outside the area sailing into the top corner despite the outstretched dive of Ines.

The Netherlands held on in the latter stages, including five minutes of additional time, as despite some nervy moment they got their first victory of the tournament.

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