Every good restaurant has a specialty of the house. Obviously, Ajax isn’t a restaurant, and the comparison may be far-fetched. But, just as in the restaurant business, Ajax’s job is to entertain its visitors and extend good service. This is just what they did against FC Twente, just as they’ve done often this season. Specifically, this means that, in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, they tighten the screws, open the score, and plow their way to three points. This is exactly how they defeated FC Twente. Ajax celebrated this 3-0 win thanks to goals by Kasper Dolberg (2) and Amin Younes.
Thanks to this win, ‘head chef’ Peter Bosz’s team remains hot on the trail of Feyenoord, who had defeated AZ earlier on. The difference between the teams remains four points. Next week’s round of play, number 27, promises to be interesting. Feyenoord visits sc Heerenveen, while Ajax will be at Excelsior’s Woudestein.
Ajax met FC Twente with its trusted line-up. That meant that Joël Veltman and Davinson Sánchez were back on the squad. Both players had been suspended for last Thursday’s match against FC Copenhagen. Furthermore, Bosz had made space for Hakim Ziyech. The left-footed player had indicated that he was exhausted leading up to the game against Copenhagen, and was thus spared for that game. But Ziyech was back in action against his former team.
The play-maker added immediate value with a cross-pass to Dolberg, who came at Nick Marsman from a difficult angle. The goalie shrunk his goal and won the battle. A bit later, Dolberg once again found Marsman in his way, but this time the keeper had less work to do in the exchange. The Danish Ajacied followed up a beautiful play with a weak low shot.
It was clear early on that Twente hadn’t come to the ArenA to win any beauty contests, choosing instead to play with a tight formation. Ajax struggled with its opponent and, except for a few scarce moments, was unable to impose itself. A nice combination during which Veltman freed up his team mate Ziyech deserved a better fate. Keeper Marsman made the save in the near corner.
A few moments later, the roles were reversed and Ziyech brough Veltman into position from a corner. De defender took one shot, but the volley landed on the goal’s roof. All in all, Twente held its own very well, although Ajax did get a few opportunities towards the end of the first half.
Bertrand Traoré stumbled onto Marsman from a difficult corner, but had another chance later on. It was perhaps the biggest opportunity of the first half, but the African forward wasn’t able to capitalize on a taylor-made pass from Younes. Right before the break, a powerful long-range shot by Dolberg missed the goal, and Twente escaped the first half unscathed. Offensively, the visitors had limited themselves to an attempt by Bersant Cerlina (header) and a shot by Kamohelo Mokotjo.
Previously this season, Ajax has been very strong in the first fifteen minutes of the second half, and they repeated this feat against Twente. The Ajacieds were determined to erase the poor first half from their memories and turned the screws tightly on their opponents. In this phase, a goal seemed inevitable. After Traoré had missed a big opportunity, Younes was the one who scored the liberating first goal. The German was played free by Davy Klaassen, and he beat Marsman with a low shot, 1-0.
Ball conqueror Ziyech
The spell had been broken and Ajax was hungry for more. The hunt for the 2-0 goal was initiated immediately. The lead was doubled after 67 minutes. In addition to Dolberg (the scorer) and Younes (assist), Ziyech also had a key role, as he conquered the ball in the middle of Twente’s half of the field, and then passed to Younes. After a few seconds and one more pass, the 2-0 was a done deal.
The match was thus, for all intents and purposes, done and dusted. Ajax had the luxury of looking ahead to the upcoming return match against FC Copenhagen. Bosz brought in youngsters Justin Kluiver, Matthijs de Ligt and Donny van de Beek as fresh reinforcements onto the field. The match seemed like it would end in 2-0, but Ziyech wasn’t satisfied with that. He was clearly seeking another goal and had a great chance when he turned up, unhindered, in front of Marsman. Ziyech let this one go, but stood out later on by making an assist to Dolberg. The striker, on the edge of being offside, scored his second goal of the game.