The Irish side had a good defensive display against the Dutch until the late equaliser
In a last gasp 3-1 victory in the ongoing Euro 2020 Qualifiers, Netherlands got the better of Northern Ireland to move back to the top of the table. The Irishmen had taken the lead in the 75th minute through Josh Magennis’ towering header following a set-piece situation.
It would have been a huge victory for the Green and White Army, but Memphis Depay turned out as their villain on the night. The Olympique Lyon stalwart equalized with just ten minutes to go to cut short the visitors’ celebrations.
What followed was absolute heartbreak for the away team, as Luuk de Jong scored for the Dutchmen in injury-time to give them a lead. Meanwhile, Depay added another just before the final whistle to put the game to bed.
“That was very cruel,”said N. Ireland boss Michael O’Neill in a post match interview with the BBC, “We are devastated, especially with the nature of the defeat. Conceding the two goals in injury-time made it a very harsh result for us.”
In their defence, the Irishmen produced a wonderful display overall, as they kept the forceful opposition attack at bay for the majority of the match, until Depay’s equalizer. Moreover, the team caught the world-class defence formed by Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt by surprise, as Stuart Dallas’ curling cross was connected well by Magennis and the ball went past Jasper Cillessen.
However, it wouldn’t change the fact that Ronald Koeman’s side dominated the game for almost its entirety.
“We knew we would have to defend for long periods and were pushed back a lot by a team full of world-class players,” O’Neill went on.
“That obviously makes the head-to-head with Holland that bit more difficult, but the team can be very proud of the account they have given in this group,” he added.