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Euro 2016 Qualifying Round-Up: Holland Come Back To Beat Kazakhstan

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HOLLAND grabbed two late goals to snatch a 3-1 home victory over 10-man Kazakhstan having trailed until just past the hour in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday.

The Dutch took the three points thanks to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ibrahim Afellay and a Robin van Persie penalty, having fallen behind in the 17th minute to Renat Abdulin’s diving header from a corner in the Group A match.

The Kazakhs had successfully defended in numbers until the 62nd minute when the substitute Huntelaar equalised with a header and they were down to 10 men when Baurzhan Dzholchiyev was sent off two minutes later for a foul on Afellay.

Afellay, making his comeback for the national team after an absence of 23 months, put Holland ahead thanks to a long-range shot with only eight minutes remaining before Van Persie wrapped up the win by converting a penalty just before stoppage time.

The defender Giorgio Chiellini scored three times, including an own-goal, as Italy beat Azerbaijan 2-1 in Palermo. After Italy dominated the Group H qualifier but created few chances Chiellini put them in front with a header from an Andrea Pirlo corner, which the Azerbaijan keeper, Kamran Agayev, came for but failed to reach.

The Azzurri should have had the game in the bag but were shocked in the 76th minute when Chiellini was unable to deal with a Dimitrij Nazarov corner, the ball crossing the line off the Juventus centre-back’s leg.

Chiellini made amends six minutes later by angling home a near-post header from a fine cross by his club-mate Sebastian Giovinco to ensure Antonio Conte’s team secured a second straight win in the group.

In Group A Tomas Sivok and Borek Dockal were both on target as the Czech Republic came from behind to beat Turkey 2-1 and likewise notch their second straight victory. Turkey had grabbed the lead in the eighth minute when Caner Erkin swung in a deep cross from the left and Umut Bulut headed the ball past Petr Cech.

The visitors levelled seven minutes later as Sivok outjumped his markers to nod in a corner from the Sparta Prague winger Ladislav Krejci. Turkey were then made to pay for missing several good chances when Dockal fired a left-foot shot beyond Tolga Zengin in the 58th minute.

The win leaves the Czechs top of the table with six points from two matches while Turkey are bottom without a point.

Belgium got their qualifying campaign off to a flying start with a 6-0 victory over Andorra in a predictably one-sided match.

In their first competitive encounter since their World Cup quarter-final defeat by Argentina Belgium struck the woodwork three times in 20 minutes before opening the scoring with a Kevin de Bruyne penalty on the half-hour. They then proceeded repeatedly to rip apart Andorra’s defence.

A Nacer Chadli half-volley doubled the lead before a fine lay-off from Divock Origi for De Bruyne’s second made it 3-0 at half-time.

Origi, on loan at Lille from Liverpool, turned one defender and beat another for number four before Dries Mertens scored two – a header after a superb long ball from Radja Nainggolan and a shimmy and sharp shot to make it six.

Before a sell-out crowd in Brussels the hosts rested Eden Hazard in the hope that his bruised toe would be fully recovered in time for Monday’s tougher qualifier against Bosnia.

They did, however, field the Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois five days after he suffered a head injury in a collision with Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez, although he barely had a touch. – The Guardian

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