Belfast Telegraph

Netherlands' cruel injury-time double downs Northern Ireland after Josh Magennis nets opener in crucial Euro 2020 qualifier

Netherlands 3-1 Northern Ireland

Netherlands' Luuk de Jong (L) and Memphis Depay celebrate as their injury-time goals earn a narrow win over Northern Ireland.
Netherlands' Luuk de Jong (L) and Memphis Depay celebrate as their injury-time goals earn a narrow win over Northern Ireland.
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis scoring against Netherlands during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates scoring against Netherlands during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates scoring against Netherlands during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis celebrates scoring against Netherlands during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 10: Northern Ireland fans celebrate their sides first goal scored by Josh Magennis of Northern Ireland(not pictured) during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Netherlands and Northern Ireland at the De Kuip Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 10: Bailey Peacock-Farrell of Northern Ireland celebrates his sides first goal scored by Josh Magennis of Northern Ireland(not pictured during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier between Netherlands and Northern Ireland at the De Kuip Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Netherlands' Virgil van Dijk (right) and Northern Ireland's Josh Magennis .
George Saville impressed for Northern Ireland.
Shane Ferguson of Northern Ireland looks to break past Memphis Depay
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Denzel Dumfries with Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Denzel Dumfries with Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Marten de Roon with Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Georginio Wijnaldum with Northern Ireland's George Saville during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Frenkie de Jong with Northern Ireland's Corry Evans during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Shane Ferguson looks to break past Memphis Depay.
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Marten de Roon with Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Steven Bergwijn with Northern Ireland's George Saville during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Netherlands' Georginio Wijnaldum with Northern Ireland's Steven Davis during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast, Northern Ireland - 10th October 2019 - Photo by William Cherry/Presseye Northern Ireland manager Micheal O'Neill during Thursday nights UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier against Netherlands at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Northern Ireland have been beaten by the Netherlands in the cruelest of fashions in Rotterdam.

Josh Magennis had given the visitors a 75th minute lead as the vociferous travelling Green and White Army dreamed of a huge upset but it wasn't to be as a Memphis Depay equaliser paved the way for a heartbreaking injury-time double, Luuk de Jog and Depay netting to seal a 3-1 win for the relieved hosts.

It's a result that will be immensely hard to take for a Northern Ireland side that was all-but tactically perfect.

The high press had caused Germany so many problems in an almost equally unfortunate 2-0 defeat last time out and as Michael O'Neill's men once again got in the faces of their fancied opponents, they knocked the hosts off their stride.

This was a Netherlands team that had smashed Germany 4-2 last month and won nine of their previous 11 home matches.

But throughout the first half, they were made to look pedestrian with the ball, going from side to side and unable to penetrate a stout defence.

The fact that Gini Wijnaldum's harmless flicked header in the final minute of the half was the first shout on target speaks volumes for both Northern Ireland's efforts and the Netherlands' inability to create chances.

It was no better after the break as Wijnaldum skied an effort over the bar and George Saville scampered back in time to nick the ball off the toe of Steven Bergwijn in a dangerous position at the back post. Efforts like that and an equally crucial Craig Cathcart interception were typical of the travelling side's efforts.

Substitute Donyell Malen added some attacking impetus for the hosts but should have done better when Depay's chipped through ball put him through. With Wijnaldum awaiting the square ball unmarked, all the PSV man could do was loop a poor touch into the tall Bailey Peacock-Farrell's gloves.

Wijnaldum did get a shot at goal soon after but as he looked to convert at the back post, Jonny Evans was on hand to clear before the effort could cross the line.

All of Northern Ireland's defensive efforts were rewarded in the most stunning of fashions on 75 minutes when substitute Josh Magennis nodded home a telling Stuart Dallas cross, just reward for the Leeds' winger's tireless efforts throughout.

There was justifiable pandemonium amongst the 3,500 strong travelling support who were daring to dream of a spectacular win.

However, it wasn't to be.

Memphis Depay levelled with a touch of class five minutes later, controlling Malen's cross and poking home.

A draw would still have given Northern Ireland the opportunity to qualify with a home win over the Dutch but those hopes were cruelly ended in injury time.

It was substitute Luuk de Jong's back post finish that broke Northern Ireland hearts, putting the relived hosts into a 2-1 lead before Depay romped clear to tuck home his 11th goal in 17 games under Ronald Koeman.

The late goals were knock-out blows at the end of what had been another tireless performance from Michael O'Neill's side.

Here's the game as it happened:

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