A ten-man Netherlands side opened their 2016 UEFA Euopean under-19 Championships with a 3-1 win over Croatia.
The Netherlands were in the drivers seat for the majority of the first half, with a good chance for Sam Lammers before Steven Bergwijn gave them the lead.
More opportunities followed before Lammers added a second, but a Croatian goal from Josip Brekalo rounded off a entertaining first period.
Croatia dominated the majority of the second period after the dismissal of Deyovaisio Zeefuik, but a late goal from Bergwijn sealed the victory.
Straight out the blocks
The Netherlands were looking to make a good start, with group favourites France and England playing later in the evening.
They had a good opportunity four minutes in, Abdelhak Nouri found Lammers at the near post as he looked to score with a Cryuff flick, but Karlo Letica did well to block the effort.
However he could do nothing to prevent them taking the lead after 15 minutes in, it was simple for Lammers who turned provider with a great cross, he found Bergwijn at the far post and he did brilliantly to control his header into the far corner.
Chances at both ends
Aron Winter's side were looking to kill off their opponents in the opening 45 minutes, and were denied by Letica on two separate occasions.
Jari Schuurman was put through on goal but the keeper did well to rush off his line, and the closed angle saw the effort deflect. Bergwijn went on a run looking for his second, despite having support in the area but Letica was on hand again to block.
Croatia were beginning to come into the match and had a decent opportunity through Nikola Moro, he tried to curl one from distance which called for Yanick van Osch to push it away.
The Dutch pressure paid off as they added heir second, it was great play from the Dutch skipper Nouri. He received a heavy ball from Calvin Verdonk, but produced a excellent flick which found Lammers who coolly slotted home.
However Croatia gave themselves a big lifeline as they got a goal back. It was poor of behalf of the Dutch as Davor Lovren played it to Brekalo, he cut inside Deyovaisio Zeefuik and let rip and the late bounce could only see van Osch help it into the net.
Piling on the pressure
Croatia were given a huge boost of getting back into the game, when the Netherlands were reduced to ten men. Zeefuik received a card in the first period and his trip on Bojan Knezevic left Anatolii Zhabchenko with no choice. Andrija Balic stood over the following free-kick, but he could only find the side-netting.
Croatia continued to dominate the proceedings for the majority of the match, but failed to really make a significant chance to equalise.
Fran Brodric looked to have created an excellent opportunity as he managed to dance through the dutch defence, however it didn't come off as it was blocked.
Despite been under the quash for the majority of the half, the Dutch rounded off the game with their third and final goal.It was a great counter-attack from Bergwijn who ran the majority of the pitch before getting beyond Letica and firing home.