Three days before the Champions League descends, Ajax defeated sc Heerenveen by 4-1 in a great Eredivisie game. There were several educational moments for the Ajacieds as well, as their defense did not look very solid at times.
After the interland break, Ajax played in front of its home crowd again. Erik ten Hag had made a few changes to his squad for this duel against sc Heerenveen. Sergiño Dest en David Neres were not among the starting eleven. The fact that these internationals had been playing in different time zones last week, with a 9-hour time difference, was a important factor. Perr Schuurs and Klaas Jan Huntelaar took their spots in the starting line-up.
Ajax made a good start to the match. Opportunities came and the home team took a well earned lead in the 14th minute. Klaas Jan Huntelaar took a shot on a free kick which, via Dusan Tadic’s back, went past Warner Hahn. Via Quincy Promes and Edson Álvarez, the margin was nearly increased shortly after, but didn’t.
Hereenveen promptly tied the game in the 22nd minute. Daley Blind made a wrong move, Mitchell van Bergen took off, and sent the ball to a freed up Jens Odgaard, who sent the ball in. Via Van Bergen, Heerenveen almost took the lead in the 30th minute when Joel Veltman mis-played the ball on the right side. But he stumbled on Andre Onana. In the 32nd minute, Odgaard scored again for the Fries team. But a foul by Lucas Woudenberg on Veltman was brought to referee Lindhout’s attention through the video referee. The goal was disqualified.
Ajax briefly lost its way. There were big gaps on defense, and communication overall was poor. Because the Fries attacks weren’t powerful enough, Ajax managed to stay on top and Ten Hag’s team even took a 2-1 lead before halftime. A corner by Promes was send in on a header by an aggravated Nico Tagliafico
Ajax restores order
Six minutes after the break, Ajax took a two goal lead. Perr Schuurs sent the 3-1 goal past Hahn. It was his very first Eredivisie goal. Shortly after, the Amsterdam team took a 4-1 lead. Ziyech’s diagonal pass found Tagliafico, who sent a seamless shot with his left foot sailing past Hahn.
Ajax was once again in charge and Ten Hag was cautiously able to ahead to Tuesday’s game against Lille. He took Tadic, Álvarez and Promes out and sent in Siem de Jong. To loud applause, the man who led Ajax to its third star in 2011 made his comeback in the team. The score remained as it was. On to the Champions League!