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Senegal's Iliman Ndiaye, below, and Memphis Depay of the Netherlands battle for the ball during the World Cup, group A match at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Monday. (AP PHOTO) -
Senegal’s Iliman Ndiaye, below, and Memphis Depay of the Netherlands battle for the ball during the World Cup, group A match at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Monday. (AP PHOTO) –

Netherlands left it late to eke out a 2-0 win in their FIFA World Cup opener against Senegal in match three at Al Thumama Stadium in Qatar on Monday.

The African champions showed fight throughout, but a well-timed header from winger Cody Gakpo in the 84th minute and a late strike from Davy Klaassen in the 99th minute secured a crucial three points for the Dutchmen in Group A.

Senegal were the more physical and attacking team, but were unable to capitalise on any of their chances.

Davy Klaassen of the Netherlands, left, socres his side’s second goal during the World Cup, group A match against Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Monday. (AP Photo) –

After the first round of Group A matches, Netherlands (three points) top the standings, owing to a higher goal difference than Sunday’s opening-match winners Ecuador (three points).

Ecuador defeated hosts Qatar 2-0 in the first match of the quadrennial tourney, while Monday morning’s Group B opener saw England thrash Iran 6-2.

Group B action continues at 3pm with USA up against Wales.