Ajax and season opener: no match made in heaven in recent years



For the third year in a row, Ajax has failed to win its first Eredivisie game of the season.  After Heracles had been their foil for two straight years, this year it was Vitesse who succeeded to win points from Ajax (2-2) right off the bat.

Ajax was able to come back from two deficits in the GelreDome, via Donny van de Beek and Dusan Tadic, but wasn’t able to do more.  In the final phase, former Ajacied Riechedly Bazoer – who scored for Vitesse – got a red card.  But Ajax couldn’t capitalize on its numeric advantage.

Hakim Ziyech and Nico Tagliafico had their first starting spot of the season in Arnhem.  The internationals from Morocco and Argentinia returned to Amsterdam later than the others due to their participation in the Africa Cup and Copa América, and were thus unavailable to play in the Johan Cruijff Shield game against PSV (2-0).  Their return came at the expense of Quincy Promes and Sergino Dest.

Unfortunate goal against
Ajax was sluggish at the start, and went down a goal in an unfortunate moment.  A shot by Bero was deflected by Perr Schuurs, which sent the ball spinning past Andre Onana in the Ajax goal.

After about 25 minutes, the Ajacieds squared their shoulders.  Donny van de Beek’s tying goal was the product of a good phase for the Amsterdam team.  Hakim Ziyech made a pass tot he attacking midfielder, who pulled the trigger.  Earlier in the game, Van de Beek had squandered some opportunities.  Daley Blind sent a shot onto the post.

In the second half, Ajax was mediocre and paid the price.  Bazoer scored for the Arnhem team in the 55th minute, giving his team the lead once again.

Missed opportunity for a tying goal

One minute later, Ajax came close to scoring the 2-2, but this didn’t happen.  First, Ziyech had an opportunity from nearby, but he stumbled on Pasveer.  The rebound might have delivered a great opportunity, but Razvan Marin sent his shot over the empty goal

Ajax pressed on by applying pressure to Vitesse, and was rewarded for its efforts.  Tadic pulled the trigger beautifully.  Ajax’s captain was on the edge of offside, but the goal was allowed after consulting the video referee.  A highlight for the Ajacieds.

Ajax had momentum and wanted to push on.  But they didn’t manage, despite Bazoer being sent off and a good closing attack.  It was perhaps the story of the game.  Ajax had enough opportunities, but was unable to make the difference.