Dutch courage not enough for Kazakhstan
Netherlands get out of jail, Italy also survive scare at home to Azerbaijan
Italy’s coach Antonio Conte gets his point across during the Euro 2016 qualification match against Azerbaijan in Palermo. Photograph: Tony Gentile/Reuters
Arjen Robben gets to the ball ahead of Kazakhstan’s Gafurzhan Suyumbayev. Photograph: EPA
Euro 2016 round-up: The Netherlands grabbed two late goals to snatch a 3-1 home victory over 10-man Kazakhstan having trailed until just past the hour mark in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday.
The Dutch took the three points thanks to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ibrahim Afellay and a Robin van Persie penalty, having fallen behind in the 17th minute to Renat Abdulin’s diving header from a corner in the Group A match.
The Kazakhs had successfully defended in numbers until the 62nd minute when substitute Huntelaar equalised with a header and they were down to 10 men when striker Baurzhan Dzholchiyev was sent off two minutes later for a foul on Afellay.
Afellay, making his comeback for the national team after an absence of 23 months, put the Netherlands ahead thanks to a long-range strike with only eight minutes remaining and Van Persie wrapped up the win by converting a penalty in the 89th.
Iceland and Czech Republic, who both won away on Friday, top the group with six points followed by the Dutch on three, with Kazakhstan and Latvia on one and Turkey bottom without a point.
Defender Giorgio Chiellini had one of those days, scoring three times, including an own goal, as Italy beat Azerbaijan 2-1 at home in Group H.
The Azzurri should have had the game in the bag but were shocked in the 76th minute when Chiellini was unable to deal with a Dimitrij Nazarov corner, the ball crossing the line off the centre back’s leg.
Chiellini made amends six minutes later by angling home a near-post header from a fine cross by substitute Sebastian Giovinco to ensure Antonio Conte’s team secured a second straight win in the group.
The result left Wales with four points from two games while Bosnia have one and plenty of work to do after losing their opening game 2-1 to Cyprus at home last month.
Welsh forward Gareth Bale and Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko both had a quiet game as their markers gave them preciously little room to operate on a slippery surface, with the visitors creating more chances.
Despite that Bale had a fierce angled shot tipped away for a corner by Asmir Begovic in the dying moments to deny Wales victory.
Also in Group B, Belgium got their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign off to a flying start on Friday with a 6-0 victory over Andorra in a predictably one-sided match, while Israel won 2-1 in Cyprus.