Dutch late show kills off brave Hungary
Dirk Kuyt's late brace eventually settled a topsy-turvy encounter in the hosts' favour after the Hungarians - beaten 4-0 in the reverse fixture in Budapest on Friday - twice fought their way back into the game.
Robin van Persie's early strike gave the Dutch a half-time advantage but goals from Gergely Rudolf and Zoltan Gera turned the game on its head. Gera equalised again after goals from Wesley Sneijder and Ruud van Nistelrooy had got the Dutch back in front, before Liverpool striker Kuyt had the final say to move Bert van Marwijk's side onto 18 points from six games.
Hungary produced the first shot of the contest from Tamas Priskin in the sixth minute, but it was too high to trouble Michel Vorm. The visitors soon found themselves behind, though, when John Heitinga fed Van Persie and the Arsenal man fired a left-footed shot into the bottom-left corner. Rudolf lashed a 20-yard effort over the bar soon after as the visitors looked to get back on level terms.
Arsenal ace Van Persie almost doubled his tally in the 24th minute, but directed his shot from 12 yards just wide, and 12 minutes later Barcelona new boy Ibrahim Afellay did get a right-footed attempt on target but Marton Fulop was equal to it. Hungary raised their game in the five minutes before half-time in their pursuit of the equaliser, but to no avail. Vorm saved from Rudolf and Gera fired wide.
However, soon after the interval the Hungarians turned things around in dramatic fashion. Rudolf's finish from close range moments after the restart following neat work by Balazs Dzsudzsak down the left restored parity and then Gera's low finish - again from a Dzsudzsak cross - put Hungary ahead.
It could have been even worse for the stunned hosts in the 55th minute but Vorm kept out another left-footed blast from Rudolf. The Netherlands soon recovered, though, and Sneijder made it 2-2 just before the hour with a shot into the bottom-right corner of Fulop's net.
The game continued to flow from end to end, but long-range efforts from Sneijder and Kuyt for the Dutch, and Gera for Hungary, never threatened the target. Van Marwijk's side regained the advantage in the 72nd minute, much to the relief of the home fans, when Kuyt's cross set up Van Nistelrooy to strike a low shot into the net.
Their lead lasted barely two minutes before Gera converted a Dzsudzsak cross as Hungary refused to give in, but their resistance was soon broken for good. Afellay provided the cross for Kuyt to put the Dutch 4-3 up, firing into the bottom-left corner in the 78th minute, and the in-form Liverpool frontman then linked up with Sneijder three minutes later and lashed a fine shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.