Huntelaar the Dutch hero again
Klaas Jan Huntelaar continued his superb scoring form in the UEFA 2012 qualifiers with the winner for the Netherlands in Moldova as the Oranje maintained their 100 per cent start after three games in Group E.
The 27-year-old, currently rebuilding his career with German side Schalke after disappointing spells with Real Madrid and AC Milan, put away Rafael van der Vaart's assist in the 37th minute for his sixth goal in three matches to keep Bert van Marwijk's side well in control of the section.
The result made it two defeats and one win from three games for Moldova, who are fourth in the six-team pool.
It took 16 minutes for the FIFA World Cup™ runners-up to fashion the first decent chance as PSV Eindhoven playmaker Ibrahim Afellay's shot had to be tipped over by Moldova goalkeeper Stanislav Namasco. From the resulting Wesley Sneijder corner, Van der Vaart headed just wide.
Namasco then comfortably fielded a 28th-minute free-kick from Dirk Kuyt before Sneijder drilled a shot over the top from 12 yards. Alexandru Epureanu had the hosts' first moment to savour when his shot from 25 yards flew over in the 32nd minute.
Five minutes later Huntelaar netted the decisive goal as his low left-foot strike from Van der Vaart's ball proved too good for Namasco. The Dutch came within inches of doubling their lead in the 53rd minute as John Heitinga's shot from close range smacked the crossbar.
Afellay and Kuyt sent efforts off-target for the visitors before a lob from Vitali Bordiyan fully stretched Maarten Stekelenburg for the first time. The Ajax man then had to be alert to field a header from Semion Bulgaru following a 64th-minute corner before Huntelaar had two great chances to seal it, heading wide in the 75th minute and then bringing Namasco into action two minutes later.
Without the cushion of a second goal it was never completely comfortable for the Dutch, but the final moment of concern passed when Stekelenburg held on to Igor Bugaev's effort from the edge of the box.