Ajax narrowly avoided another setback in the Eredivisie on Saturday evening. Dusan Tadic made good on a penalty kick in the final two minutes of the game at VVV-Venlo. His spot-on shot from twelve yards out was good for the match’s only goal (0-1). Ajax played with difficulty, but nonetheless returns to Amsterdam with three points. They can now focus on Dynamo Kiev, who will visit the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Wednesday evening.
After the game, the Video Referee was extensively discussed. The Ajacieds had reaped the benefit from it in their first encounter. After 37 minutes, Martin Samuelson appeared to have scored the first goal, but a shove to Nico Tagliafico was the Norwegian’s downfall. After reviewing the recording, Kevin Blom disqualified the goal.
Deep in the second half, the Video Referee played a key role and it was again in Ajax’s favour. A push to Klaas Jan Huntelaar wasn’t initially punished. After play had stopped a minute later, Blom once again consulted the recording. He then pointed to the spot, and Tadic didn’t waste the opportunity: 0-1.
In Venlo, Ajax started with the same 11 names which had defeated Standard Liege. Because of that convincing performance, Erik ten Hag had no reason to make changes. His team had also had a good 4 day recovery period between games.
The Ajax players, as expected, had the upper hand and created several 100 per cent opportunities in the first half. The biggest was for David Neres after 7 minutes. The Brazilian was brilliantly sent forward by Tadic, then went on to outplay VVV keeper Lars Unnerstal, but sent his shot wide of the empty goal.
Fifteen minutes later, Tadic brought a team mate into position, Tagliafico this time. The left back who had come up, stumbled at close range onto keeper Lars Unnerstal, who grew into the game quite nicely. Although smaller, Noussair Mazraoui and Huntelaar also had opportunities, but the double bagel score didn’t change before halftime.
More saves by Unnerstal
This was due to the fact that Blom had disqualified the VVV goal in the 38th minute. In the second half, Ajax pressed on, but had fewer chances than in the first half. Mazraoui had the biggest one – and certainly he wasn’t the first Ajacied to find Unnerstal in his path on this evening. Also Ziyech (2) and Tadic made attempts from the 2nd line.
But no goal came, and Ajax seemed destined to squander points again, just like against Heracles Almelo. But Tadic made good on his second penalty kick+. The Serb ended up being worth his weight in gold for Ajax.