Under interim manager Heitinga, Ajax took the upper hand in Kralingen in the opening stages. Yet it was the home team who saw the first big chance of the match. A corner landed the ball right at El Yaakoubi's, but the Excelsior captain tipped it over the bar from close range.
Tadic takes advantage of a penalty
Ajax took the lead in under fifteen minutes. The Ajax side were awarded a penalty after Klaassen was brought down in Excelsior's penalty area. Tadic took full advantage and made it 1-0.
Heitinga's team were again impressive several times more before close of business in the first half. Excelsior midfielder Driouech had three good counterattack chances. His first gamble hit the post, while his second and third shots saw brilliant saves by Gero Rulli. However, the Argentinian's goalposts couldn't see off El Yaakoubi's header from a corner in the 36th minute: 1-1.
Ajax shows their mettle
Ajax got tough after giving that goal away. The Ajax side went back into the lead just before half-time, thanks to a goal from Davy Klaassen: 2-1. Tadic crosses to Kenneth Taylor from the edge of the penalty area. The Ajax captain skilfully shielded the ball and then delivered it straight to the sharpshooting midfielder.
Ajax creates some distance
Just like in the first half, the Ajax team had possession a lot in the second. After playing for more than an hour, Heitinga's team increased their lead. Kudus chased the ball into the net to make it 3-1, following a momentary scare from the home team. A pass from Tadic saw the Ghanaian shoot the ball into the Rotterdam net via the inside of the post.
A two goal lead put Ajax in control for the final half hour in Kralingen. The Ajax side encountered no further problems and even went hunting for an extra Amsterdam goal. The final chord rang out from Rensch's foot. The Ajax defender's shot exploded onto the scoreboard: 4-1.
Excelsior - Ajax 1-4 (1-2)
15. Tadic 0-1
36. El Yaakoubi 1-1
45. Klaassen 1-2
61. Kudus 1-3
83. Rensch 1-4
Ajax: Rulli; Rensch, Timber, Álvarez, Wijndal; Klaassen (61. Conceição), Berghuis (79. Bassey), Taylor; Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn