Netherlands beat Ecuador 1-0

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuyt scored Wednesday to lead the Netherlands to a 1-0 win over Ecuador in a friendly in Amsterdam.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuyt scored Wednesday to lead the Netherlands to a 1-0 win over Ecuador in a friendly in Amsterdam. Kuyt played instead of Ruud van Nistelrooy after the Manchester United forward withdrew because of stomach pain. The goal boosted Kuyt's chances of starting at the June 9-July 9 World Cup. Ecuador's best chance in a game delayed by snow came after 37 minutes, when Carlos Tenorio ran the ball to near the right post but his shot to the far corner went wide. Knocking away The home fans booed their team to the locker room after a first half in which the Netherlands failed to put a shot on target despite dominating possession. That spurred the Netherlands and Giovanni van Bronckhorst opened the second half with a shot from 30 meters that Ecuador goalkeeper Cristhian Mora knocked away with a late dive. Kuyt scored two minutes later after Martijn Meerdink headed down Arjen Robben's cross. Kuyt took the ball and evaded a defender before finishing in the left. Robben crossed again to Kuyt inside the box in the 52nd, but the striker's shot clipped off a defender's foot and bounced just wide. Midfielder Mark van Bommel then volleyed hard and on-target, but Mora stopped the shot and Kuyt's follow-up was blocked by a defender. Mounting speed In the 71st minute, Cristian Lara crossed to fellow Ecuador substitute Felix Borja, whose shot bounded over the goal. In the second half "there was more speed in our game and that resulted in six or seven chances," said coach Marco van Basten. "We made one but I had the feeling that we could have made more". Van Basten praised Meerdink, midfielder Nicky Hofs and defender Kew Jaliens, who were making their first international appearances. He also said Barcelona's Van Bommel, who has been left off the Dutch squad in recent matches, now has a good chance of making the World Cup team. Lineups: Netherlands: Edwin van der Sar, Kew Jaliens, Joris Mathijsen, Barry Opdam, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Mark van Bommel, George Boateng (Nicky Hofs, 61), Phillip Cocu (Hedwiges Maduro, 46), Martijn Meerdink, Dirk Kuyt, Arjen Robben. Ecuador: Cristhian Mora, Giovanny Espinoza, Ivan Hurtado (Jorge Guagua, 73), Ulises De la Cruz, Luis Valencia (Segundo Castillo, 69), Carlos Tenorio (Felix Borja, 68), Marlon Ayovi (Walter Calderon, 83), Neicer Reasco, Patricio Urrutia, Cristian Benitez (Cristian Lara, 46), Edison Mendez. (AP)

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