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Armenia 0 Holland 1

Holland kept themselves on track for qualification to the 2006 World Cup but were indebted to a single strike from Ruud van Nistelrooy that gave them a slender victory over Armenia.

The victory was justified but Marco van Basten’s men were deeply unconvincing as they struggled to penetrate the Armenian defence.

Holland had 74% of the possession in both halves of the match, but no more than six shots were fired at Armenia keeper Roman Berezovsky.

The Dutch goal was scored in the second half by Manchester United star van Nistelrooy, who played well but was unlucky in front of goal.

Van Nistelrooy’s strike came in the 63rd minute after Khalid Boulahrouz sent a long ball to substitute Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, who had only entered the field of play a minute earlier.

The rangy striker headed the ball towards Van Nistelrooy, who turned away from his marker and rifled the ball into the back of the net.

The Oranje started well and had three chances in the first 15 minutes, only for Van Nistelrooy, Philip Cocu and Robin van Persie to have no luck with their shots.

However besides a header from Dirk Kuyt and a shot from Van Persie, Holland offered little else in the first period.

In the second half Holland faced even more problems getting through the wall of Armenian players.

After the goal their passing game fell apart and the match fizzled out.

Armenia only looked to the counter attack during the game and never really upset the Dutch defence or goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

But they were undoubtedly hampered by the loss of the focal point of their attack, Ajax striker Edgar Manucharian, to a 17th minute hamstring injury.

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