Holland wrapped up Group A with maximum points, but did not hit the heights of previous performances as they squeezed past 10-man Benin at the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 in Tilburg.

Victory came at a price too as Ibrahim Affelay was stretchered off with a serious ankle injury and he seems certain to miss the Netherlands' second round match with Chile in Doetinchem on Wednesday and Dutch coach Foppe de Haan said: "He has gone to hospital for a scan, but I very much doubt he will be back for the next game.

"Chile have had a strange tournament, first winning 7-0 then losing by the same score, but I am sure they will be a good opponent for us."

Though the sold-out Willem II Stadium was the expected sea of orange as local supporters took the advantage of seeing their national heroes in town, it's fair to say that the small enclave of Benin fans in the main stand drowned out the Dutch in terms of noise throughout the 90 minutes.

Their rhythmic drumming and chanting proved hypnotic, which was just as well because the action on the pitch was far from a distraction in the early stages. Holland, already safely through and top of Group A, had little to play for and did not force the pace until Rick Kruys opened up with a shot that flashed wide.

Encouraged by that, Prince Rajcomar followed suit, but missed the mark and then Quincy Owusu Abeyie showed the first hint of what all the fuss is about with a powerful free-kick that cannoned back off the crossbar.

Razzak Omotoyossi broke clear for Benin and it took two Dutch defenders and goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer to shut him down, but the African side's task was made all the more difficult by an incident five minutes before the interval.

Rajcomar turned just inside the Benin half and was about to break free, but defender Charaf Chitou dragged him down. The booking he picked up was his second of the match and his subsequent sending off was no great surprise, though he was utterly distraught as he was guided away from the pitch.

Within minutes, Rajcomar had the ball in the Benin net, but he was standing in an offside position and his effort was ruled out by the officials, though the Dutch did not have to wait long for the only goal as skipper Hedwiges Maduro artfully tip-toed through the Benin defence and poked it in off a post (1:0, 47').

Drumbeat keeps Benin marching on
Benin had a frustrating time thereafter. The incessant drumbeat from the crowd kept up the players' spirits, but they were mostly struggling to get back into the match. The dangerous Omotoyossi offered them comfort and respite whenever he was free to show his pace and he brought a smart save out of Vermeer to keep the Dutch on their mettle.

Owusu Abeyie could have extended their lead, but an attempted chip misfired badly and instead of floating over the head of Benin goalkeeper Yoann Djidonou, it skidded somewhat embarrassingly along the turf and nowhere near the mark.

A man down and desperately needing a goal to stay in the tournament, Benin did their utmost to get something out of their endeavours, but when Vermeer could only flap at captain Bachirou Osseni's corner, there was nobody on hand to capitalise on the situation and the Netehrlands cleared.

Abou Maiga later did well to create an opening for himself, but Vermeer was able to dive low and quell the threat by his left-hand post.

The Netherlands were able to shut things down pretty much after that, spraying the ball across the pitch at their own pedestrian pace and making Benin toil to no avail in the sunshine.

Benin coach Serge Deveze said: "We are only a small football nation, but we are pleased we proved we are up to the task at this tournament. It is pretty difficult when you are only playing with 10 men and we finished the last game the same way."