Netherlands U21’s chances of reaching the European Championships took a blow on Friday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Bulgaria.

Ryan Gravenberch was in the Jong Oranje starting eleven as Erwin van de Looi continued with his 4-2-2-2 formation. Heerenveen right-back Milan van Ewijk was handed his debut at this age range.

The first half was a poor affair with Netherlands not registering a single shot on target. Ten minutes before the break, Kenneth Taylor had to replace the injured Ludovit Reis.

The first big chance fell to Bulgaria and Kjell Scherpen had to make a smart save to deny captain Valentin Antov. At the other end,Taylor saw a shot parried and Daishawn Redan couldn’t finish the rebound.

Brian Brobbey eventually came off the bench and the Ajax striker was the most dangerous player for the Dutch youngsters. He fired into the side netting from a difficult angle and also couldn’t finish a late chance.

Sepp van den Berg almost gave away a penalty before the end, while Scherpen had to make several top saves.

Even with seven minutes of added time, Netherlands couldn’t find a winner and they are now five points behind group leaders Switzerland. Next week, Netherlands host Switzerland in a now must-win match.

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