Dutch struggle to defeat Moldova

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar struck five minutes before the break as Netherlands scraped past Moldova 1-0 in a Euro 2012 Group E qualifier on Friday.

The Dutch, already through to next year's finals, struggled to break down Moldova's tight defence and when they did find a way through goalkeeper Stanislav Namasco kept out Huntelaar, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt.

The group leaders finally netted in the 40th minute when Mark van Bommel released Kuyt down the right and he set up Huntelaar for his 11th goal in this qualifying campaign.

Van Persie had the best opportunity of the second half when he hit the bar from 16 metres.

"We played OK but our finishing was bad," Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk told reporters. "I had a feeling that a late equaliser might spoil our night.

"Despite winning nine straight games in the campaign and qualifying for the finals the players didn't want any champagne after as they really want to get a good result in our last match."

Netherlands, who have 27 points from nine matches, are certain to finish top. They end the campaign against Sweden, in second spot with 21 points, on Tuesday.

Moldova have six points from nine matches.