Mediocre prior to the break, but much improved in the second half: in a nutshell, this describes Ajax’s performance against Roda JC. The Limburg team had reason to keep the faith midway through the game, but this illusion was shattered in the second half in the Amsterdam ArenA: 5-1. With 3 goals, Justin Kluivert played a huge part in the victory. Kasper Dolberg and Donny van de Beek also scored.
Coach Marcel Keizer had been forced to make 2 changes to his team. Nick Viergever and Daley Sinkgraven were unable to play due to their injuries. This meant that right back Deyvaisio Zeefuik made his debut on the squad. Max Wöber was at the left flank.
The crowd was eager, but Ajax didn’t give its fans much to cheer about in the first half. Moreover, the Ajacieds struggled so much that it seemed that they would end the first half in a deficit. Fortunately, Kluivert scored the tying goal in the nick of time.
Kluivert’s hard work pays off
After about half an hour, Roda took the lead with a header by Christian Kum. In response, Ajax only had one big chance, by Kluivert. The forward was blocked at the moment he was about to pull the trigger. In the first half’s extra time, Kluivert’s hard work paid off. After a beautiful combination with Ziyech, he scored with a diagonal shot.
Keizer stepped in during the break. He brought in a midfielder (Frenkie de Jong) for a defender (Zeefuik). After a few start-up issues, things started running smoothly fifteen minutes later. The Amsterdam team's recovery started with a chance for Dolberg, served by Ziyech, but he fired his volley directly onto keeper Jurjus.
One for the crowd
One minute later, the Dane scored on a pass from David Neres. Almost immediately, Ajax struck again. Kluivert ensured the high point of the afternoon by passing Jurjus with a very hard long distance shot: 3-1.
After Van de Beek had scored the 4-1 goal, Kluivert took centre stage once again. He scored his 3rd goal of the afternoon in the 85th minute.