Ajax ends first block on a good note



After a slow start, Ajax ended up having a relatively simple afternoon in Rotterdam.  The Amsterdam team defeated Sparta by 1-4 thanks to goals by Quincy Promes, Hakim Ziyech (2x) and Dusan Tadic (penalty kick).  Ajax can head into the interland period on a good note.

After qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group phase, Ajax needed to shift its focus back to the Eredivisie.  Playing against surprising Sparta (8 points in 4 games), Erik ten Hag selected Quincy Promes out in front, relegating Klaas Jan Huntelaar to the bench.  Sergiño Dest remained at right back, costing Noussair Mazraoui his spot.

Promes opens score!
Ajax had trouble for 24 minutes with Sparta, who were much more threatening than the Amsterdam team.  But after Hakim Ziyech had saved a header by Jurgen Mattheij from the goal line, Ajax went on the attack.  Lisandro Martinez sent a custom-made pass to Quincy Promes, who sent the ball neatly into the far corner, 0-1!

Ziyech scores the 0-2 goal
Things continued to improve for the national champion, and six minutes after the opening goal, Ajax doubled its lead.  Sparta seemed defeated after Ajax’s opening goal, and forgot to defend Hakim Ziyech.  He stood completely free after Dusan Tadic had worked his way through the Sparta defense, and was able to score the 0-2 goal.  At halftime, the lead could have been even bigger, but Ajax couldn’t take advantage of the room given to them by Henk Fraser’s team.

Video referee -> penalty kick -> 0-3
Ten minutes into the second half, Ten Hag pulled Neres out in favour of Klaas Jan Huntelaar, and three minutes later, Ajax received a penalty kick after the video referee’s intervention.  After Dirk Abels’  hands, Kamphuis took a look at the screen on the sidelines.  Tadic took advantage of this opportunity and scored with a flawless shot: 0-3.  After exactly one hour of play, Ajax took a 0-4 lead.  Tadic made the pass and Ziyech simply sent the shot in: 0-4.

One goal for Sparta
Although Ajax was in charge, the team was laconic at times.  This was the case in the 75th minute, when Sparta was able to go forward after some sloppiness from Ajax.  Halil Dervisoglu, after a sharp counter, sent in the 1-4 goal.

Sparta didn’t make it any further, though.  Ajax posted a good win and ended this first block, as Ten Hag called this period until the transfer deadline and interland period, on a good note.  The Amsterdam team resumes competition play on Saturday, September 14 (18:30) with a home game against sc Heerenveen.