Amsterdam: Robin van Persie scored twice and set up a third goal to lead the Netherlands to an easy 4-0 win over Romania in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday. It was a sixth straight win in as many qualifiers for the Dutch and gave Louis van Gaal's team a commanding seven-point lead over Hungary at the top of Group D.
After setting up Rafael van der Vaart's opening goal in the 12th minute, Van Persie sent a looping header over Costel Pantilimon following great control and a cutback by Arjen Robben to make it 2-0 in the 56th minute.
"It went very quick," Van Persie said of the reflex header. "He crossed it pretty hard and that was all I could do with it from that angle."
Eight minutes later, the Manchester United striker calmly slotted in a penalty after Jeremain Lens had been felled by Florin Gardos. The spotkick took Van Persie past Johan Cruyff and Abe Lenstra on the list of Dutch international scorers and level with his main rival for the striker's position, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, on 34 goals. Patrick Kluivert, now an assistant to Van Gaal, is the top Dutch scorer of all time with 40 goals.
Van Persie had not found the net since Feb. 10 before scoring in the Netherlands' 3-0 win over Estonia on Friday. He said his performances with the Dutch team have benefitted from Van Gaal's fluid system of forward play, which is similar to the Manchester United style.
"It is good for me to have a lot of movement around me, I'm used to that with my club," Van Persie said.
In the build-up to the opening Dutch goal, Lens raised his foot high to win the ball from Razvan Rat, but referee Mark Clattenburg did not penalise him and the PSV winger crossed from the right behind Van Persie. He laid off the ball to Van der Vaart who stroked a low shot just inside Pantilimon's right post. Adrian Popa came closest to finding the net for the Romanians with a low shot from the right in the 37th minute that a diving Kenneth Vermeer just managed to deflect wide.
Lens completed the scoring by tapping in a 90th-minute rebound from a rasping shot by substitute Adam Maher.