Ajax has ended the first half of the season, and calendar year 2017, with a win. The Ajacieds defeated Willem II in the Amsterdam ArenA thanks to a strong win, 3-1. The Tilburg team was in the lead after halftime, but goals by Justin Kluivert, Kasper Dolberg and David Neres ensured that the points remained in Amsterdam. The point difference against leader PSV is only 5 points.
Ajax thus ended a turbulent week with a smile. Midway through the week, the Amsterdam team was eliminated from the KNVB Cup by FC Twente after penalty kicks. The following day, Ajax announced that it was parting ways with Marcel Keizer, Hennie Spijkerman and Dennis Bergkamp. The head coach and two assistants were removed from active duty.
Good start for Ajax, setback followed
The start of Ajax vs Willem II was promising. In the first minute, Neres came into a strong position, but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked. A few minutes later, another Amsterdam opportunity was created by Donny van de Beek. The midfielder had the perfect angle, but his shot went over.
Interrupted by a strong phase between the 20th and 25th minutes, Ajax then had a setback. Willem II remained on its feet and had 2 good opportunities, both via Ismail Azzaoui. Right before the break, the Tilburg forward was presented with an opportunity by Andre Onana, but the Cameroonian corrected his own mistake.
Ajacieds go for it
The home crowd was hoping that Ajax would redeem itself after the break, but things started out quite differently. Willem II, after a swift counter, took the lead via Fran Sol (0-1). Ajax was then forced to pick up its game, and that’s what the team did, although this didn’t have any immediate effect. Neres was threatening three times, but equally unfortunate, and Siem de Jong, who had come in as a substitute, saw his header turned away by Branderhorst.
In the end, it was Kluivert who helped his team over the hump. The wing forward’s goal was a copy of last Wednesday’s in Enschede: from the left side to the inside, with the ball landing in the far upper corner. A beauty of a goal, but the 2-1 needed to come as well, especially the prep work. Neres held up his direct opponent at the back line, and kept a good overview, and Dolberg reaped the rewards.
Substitution for Ajax
In the end, Ajax was going for it and the crowd was entertained. At Ajax’s 3-1 goal, the team’s fans put their hands together. Hakim Ziyech, who was sprinkling the field with his beautiful passes, played to Siem de Jong. The midfielder, with a heel ball, brought Neres into position to score. The Brazilian was substituted shortly before the end.