It was a dramatic afternoon for Ajax in Arnhem: due to a 3-2 loss to Vitesse, the national title has slipped further out of reach. Leader PSV has a 10-point lead.
With just 8 games left, closing the gap with the Eindhoven team will be an incredibly tough assignment. Ajax went down in the 16th minute of this game against Vitesse. Goals by Mateo Cassierra and Siem de Jong weren’t enough to prevent this loss.
Wöber back on the squad
Max Wöber returned to the starting eleven against Vitesse. The Austrian replaced the injured Frenkie de Jong. Wöber formed the central duo with Matthijs de Ligt. The last time that the 20 year-old defender had been on Ajax’s squad was the PSV match on December 10, 2017. Siem de Jong did the honours at centre forward once again.
Lasse Schöne was also on the line-up list. The experienced Danish midfielder was fit enough to join the squad again. This was at Carel Eiting’s expense, as he was relegated to the bench.
Foor’s Sunday best
Things appeared to go smoothly for Ajax in the first fifteen minutes, and Erik ten Hag’s team controlled the game. Until the sixteenth minute, when Foor sent a turned-away corner into the upper corner with a sizzle. After the Vitesse midfielder had given his Sunday best, the Ajacieds lost their way. The Amsterdam team, except for a few scattered instances, seemed to have been neutralized.
In the second half, Ajax didn’t improve. After 57 minutes in the GelreDome, the Arnhem team doubled the score. Wöber’s fumbling was mercilessly capitalized on by Bryan Linssen.
Cassierra brings excitement
Two minutes later, Ten Hag took action: Mateo Cassierra and Amin Younes came in for Wöber and Justin Kluivert. Their fresh legs made an immediate impact, as Cassierra scored a goal with a header past keeper Pasveer. Younes, with a ball onto the post, came close to scoring the tying goal.
The offensive substitution ensured for both danger created by Ajax, and room for the Arnhem team. Instead of Ajax’s tying goal, Vitesse brought the game to 3-1 after 70 minutes of play. Bryan Linssen, after a header from a free kick, scored his 2nd goal of the afternoon. In the closing phase, Siem de Jong scored the 3-2 goal for Ajax, but there was no more to be had from this game.