Barcelona forward Memphis Depay was central to almost everything the Netherlands created against Gibraltar in their latest FIFA World Cup qualifier, scoring twice and missing from the spot in a lively game.
One pre-assist, two assists, two goals, and a missed penalty: is what Memphis Depay’s list of key actions read following the Netherlands’ big win over Gibraltar. The Barcelona striker was instrumental in everything his team created on the night and even came close to taking the match ball home.
The Dutch took the lead with just nine minutes past; Depay swung in a corner, and Virgil Van Dijk connected with it at the near post, guiding it past debutant Bradley Banda in the Gibraltar goal.
Depay was in the thick of things again in the 15th minute as he lifted the ball in for youngster Noa Lang, who shot across the face of the goal. Minutes later, Lang had a goal ruled out for offside in the build-up, but the Netherlands were awarded a penalty upon VAR review due to a handball previously in the same phase of play. Depay stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Banda guessed the right way and successfully denied the forward.
Nonetheless, Depay had the ball in the back of the net two minutes later. After Lang slipped Davy Klaassen in behind the Gibraltar defence, he squared the ball to Depay, who tapped it in from close range. The Barcelona star grabbed his brace from the spot with almost the last action of the half. This time, he slammed the ball in the centre, sending Banda the wrong way.
Louis Van Gaal’s men grabbed a fourth, three minutes after the restart. Lang hung the ball in the air towards a dangerous area, and right-back Denzel Dumfries was able to outjump his marker, to head the ball in.
Arnaut Danjuma combined with fellow substitute Wout Weghorst in the 75th minute for the Dutch’s fourth – the latter flicking another lofted pass from Depay into the goalscorer’s path.
11 minutes later, Depay played a give-and-go with Weghorst before slipping Donyell Malen in for the Oranje’s sixth – and final – goal of the game.
With two games to go, the Netherlands remain two points clear on top of their group ahead of Norway.