Netherlands vs. Colombia, International friendly: Final score 0-0, Ten-man Oranje hold out

Clive Brunskill

The Netherlands were surprisingly reduced to ten men in their friendly against Colombia, but kept the visitors at bay in a dull game.

The Netherlands were reduced to ten men after Jeremain Lens saw red but managed to hold on for a draw against Colombia.

Colombia were hopeful of taking advantage of an injury-hit Netherlands side to give themselves another impressive win heading into 2014 and the World Cup, and entered the game with a higher ranking than their opponent. But it was the hosts who nearly scored first, as Rafael van der Vaart crashed in a marvellous effort from range which thudded off the post with Faryd Mondragon a spectator.

Van der Vaart was eager to get on the scoresheet, and blazed wide from a far better position shortly afterwards, but the Netherlands was well in control of the game. Disaster appeared to strike later in the half, however, when Colombia put the ball in the net off the foot of Santiago Arias before the goal was controversially chalked out for offside.

Shortly after, Lens went sliding in on Cristian Zapata in an attempt to convert at the other end, before raising his hands in anger afterwards and astonishingly being sent off.

The game was anything but friendly at that point in the game, with Arias then going into the book for an elbow, Mondragon flattening Nigel de Jong and forcing him off to be replaced by Luciano Narsingh, and Van der Vaart also coming off thanks to a heavy tackle from Abel Aguilar, forcing another change for the hosts as Leroy Fer trudged on as his replacement.

That rather unedifying series of events brought an end to the first half. Colombia began the second half with a renewed determination. Ron Vlaar marshalled Radamel Falcao out wide to prevent him gaining a clear chance, but the Monaco forward still managed to produce a ferocious strike which Jasper Cillessen only just managed to keep out.

Despite the numerical advantage, Colombia simply couldn't get into gear, and long-range efforts from both sides, from Memphis Depay and James Rodriguez, were about as close as the game got to producing a goal. Macnelly Torres and Falcao came closest, the former hitting the bar and the latter forcing a fine save from a header, but both moves were pulled back for offside in an increasingly edgy game.

Those proved to be the last real events in the game as both sides seemed content with the draw. For a friendly, it was anything but, although the hosts will have come out of it far better than the visitors, who seemed highly disjointed throughout. Colombia will still need to find their starting team for Brazil if they hope to replicate their best form.

Netherlands: Cillessen; Van der Wiel, Vlaar, Veltman, Blind; Strootman, Schaars (De Guzman 80'), Van der Vaart (Fer 45+2'); Depay, Siem De Jong (Narsingh 44'), Lens.

Colombia: Mondragon; Arias, Zapata, Valdes, Armero; Aguilar (Torres 46'), Sanchez (Valencia 75'), Rodriguez; Cuadrado, Falcao, Gutierrez (Ibarbo 69').

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