Ajax defeated Excelsior in the Amsterdam ArenA on Thursday evening by 3-1. Siem de Jong, Kasper Dolberg and Hakim Ziyech scored the goals for the Amsmterdam team. Max Wöber had to quit early due to an injury, and Joël Veltman received a yellow card. As a result, the captain will miss the upcoming game at AZ.
Ajax – Excelsior closed the midweek Eredivisie round of play. First-placed PSV had squandered points in Groningen (3-3) the day before, which meant that the Amsterdam team could potentially gain on the leader and reduce the gap to 5 points.
Starting spot for Siem de Jong
But in order to get there, Keizer’s team needed to defeat Excelsior. The Kralingen team haven’t been an easy opponent this season. In away games, Excelsior has been victorious 6 times in 2017. Keizer made one necessary change to his squad. Lasse Schöne was sitting out a suspension, and Siem de Jong took his place.
Ajax was unable to continue in the same convincing style as they had shown in last Sunday’s game. The pace was too slow to create any openings in the Rotterdam team’s defense. However, Ajax struck gold in the 23rd minute. After a swift pass by Ziyech, Neres dribbled past his own opponent and sent the ball back to Siem de Jong, who had run up. The midfielder then converted the Brazilian’s pass into an assist with a hard shot.
Shortly after that goal, an injured Wöber was forced to exit the game. Seemingly without an opponent in sight, the Austrian seemed to twist his knee. Mitchell Dijks came in for the unfortunate defender. A few minutes later, Veltman received a yellow card, which will force him to miss the game against AZ. After that, Mike van Duinen rubbed salt in the Amsterdam team’s wounds. After a free kick by Anouar Hadouir, the striker was alert on the rebound: 1-1.
After 56 minutes, referee Ed Janssen awarded a penalty kick to Ajax after a clear hands by Hicham Faik. Dolberg took the ball and scored his 4th goal of the season: 2-1.
Five minutes before time, Ziyech, who was playing an outstanding second half, scored the final goal, 3-1. With this victory, Ajax reduces its gap with PSV to just 5 points, and draws even with AZ – the team that Ajax will visit on Sunday.