Robin van Persie scored an injury-time penalty to salvage a 2-2 draw Friday for the Netherlands against Estonia and keep the 2010 World Cup runner-up unbeaten in its quest to qualify for the finals in Brazil next year.
Arjen Robben gave the Netherlands the perfect start by scoring in just the second minute, but midfielder Konstantin Vassiljev turned the match in Tallinn on its head with a goal in each half before Van Persie's last gasp spot kick salvaged a point for the Dutch.
Elsewhere in Group D, second-place Romania beat Hungary 3-0 in a match marred by crowd trouble before kickoff, while Umut Bulut scored a hat trick as Turkey thrashed Andorra 5-0.
The Dutch could have been 3-0 up inside the first 15 minutes but Estonia goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko pulled off sharp saves to deny Wesley Sneijder and Van Persie before defender Daryl Janmaat beat three defenders only to blaze his shot over the bar from a tight angle.
Vassiljev then made Louis van Gaal's team pay for its profligacy.
The midfielder brought Estonia level with his team's first chance, as he beat Stefan de Vrij's lunging challenge and fired a low, long-range shot just inside Michel Vorm's left-hand post.
"Bizarre match," Van Persie said. "We started really well until the 1-1 and after that we fell back."
The Netherlands appeared stunned by conceding to a team it beat 3-0 when they met in March, and struggled the rest of the match to mount a meaningful attack.
Van Gaal said Estonia's equalizer turned the game.
"The players' confidence evaporated and we couldn't get it back in the second half," the coach said.
Vassiljev's second, in the 56th minute, was a brilliant finish. He deftly controlled a pass by Joel Lindpere with his left foot before lobbing Michel Vorm with his right.
"There was nothing wrong in the second half, but they scored a great goal and then you have to chase the game," Van Persie said.
The Manchester United striker earned his team the penalty when he was pulled down by Raio Piiroja and calmly converted the spot kick before Sneijder and Robben both missed good chances in the dying seconds to steal an undeserved win for the Dutch.
The Netherlands remains clear leader in Group D with 19 points from seven matches. Romania stayed second on 13 points.
Ciprian Marica opened Romania's account in the second minute and Mihai Pintilii doubled the lead just after the half hour before Cristian Tanase sealed the win two minutes from full time to stay second in the group and keep pressure on the Netherlands, which plays Andorra on Tuesday. Hungary stayed third, two points behind Romania.
Romanian authorities said five fans and two police officers were injured in clashes before kickoff.
Some 1,900 police were present for the match. After scuffles at the stadium, police kept supporters apart.
Relations have sometimes between tense between the two neighbors. Hungarians yelled "Gypsies, Gypsies" at Romanian players and during the match, Romanian supporters held up banners simply reading "1918", a mocking reference to the year when Romania regained the disputed region of Transylvania after World War I.
In Kayseri, Bulut scored in the 35th and again four minutes later before completing his hat trick in the 68th. Burak Yilmaz and Arda Turan completed the scoring for fourth-place Turkey.
The Netherlands had scored 20 goals and conceded just twice going into Friday's match in Tallinn, but with midfielders Rafael van der Vaart and Georginio Wijnaldum missing through injury and Sneijder still struggling for form, the team created few meaningful scoring chances for Van Persie.