EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP)Memphis Depay scored a brace and the Netherlands outclassed Montenegro 4-0 on Saturday to stay second in Europe Group G of World Cup qualifying.
The Barcelona striker shot the Netherlands into the lead from the penalty spot in the 38th minute after he was hauled down by Dusan Lagator. He doubled the lead in the 62nd with a hard shot that beat goalkeeper Matija Sarkic at his near post.
Georginio Wijnaldum made it 3-0 in the 70th after a quick pass by Steven Berghuis, and Cody Gakpo curled a shot into the far corner six minutes later for a memorable first international goal.
It was a night to remember for fans at Philips Stadium; Depay and Wijnaldum made their names playing in Eindhoven, and Gakpo still plays for PSV.
Turkey stayed atop Group G after beating Gibraltar 3-0.
Earlier, Erling Haaland scored first as Norway beat Latvia 2-0 in Riga.
The Netherlands plays Turkey in Amsterdam on Tuesday.
”We’ll take a good feeling from this match,” midfielder Frenkie de Jong told Dutch broadcaster NOS. ”Now on to Turkey.”
The Netherlands started without captain Virgil van Dijk, to prevent the Liverpool defender who has only recently fully recovered from a serious knee injury from having to play three internationals in a week.
Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt replaced Van Dijk, while Van Gaal gave a debut to Feyenoord left back Tyrell Malacia to replace the suspended Daley Blind.
The Netherlands started sluggishly, but quickly took control of the match. Davy Klaassen shot just over in the 28th and headed powerfully against the bar four minutes later before Depay opened the scoring.
The Dutch could have gone further ahead before the break, with Depay curling a shot just over the bar three minutes after his penalty.
Stefan Mugosa spurned a great chance to equalize in the 56th when he blazed his shot high and wide after running onto a back pass from Dutch debutant Malacia.
Depay scored his 30th international goal to put the result beyond doubt before Wijnaldum and Gakpo rounded off the scoring. Van Gaal beamed and raised his arms to celebrate Gakpo’s strike.
Depay even had time to pose for a selfie with a young fan who ran onto the pitch in the 90th. Other fans ran onto the pitch after the fulltime whistle.
Van Gaal’s first match in his third stint as Netherlands coach ended 1-1 with Norway. On the same night, Montenegro scored an equalizer deep in stoppage time to earn a 2-2 draw with Turkey. Against the dominant Dutch, there was no comeback.
”After the European Championship and Norway you really wanted a match like this,” Wijnaldum said. The Netherlands was eliminated in the round of 16 at Euro 2020.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports