Ajax has won its home game against Vitesse, 4-2. Hakim Ziyech, Dusan Tadic (2x) and Matthijs de Ligt scored the goals. Erik ten Hag’s team has taken another step towards the championship, and has broken a record along the way.
Thanks to the 4 goals, this season’s goal total is 160. This is the first time in history that a Dutch club has managed to score so many in one season. AZ scored 158 in 1980-1981, and has held the record for 38 years.
The goal that broke AZ’s record (3-0, which was the 159th) was scored by Matthijs de Ligt. Very nice for the young captain, but he’s undoubtedly even happier with the win. The team’s lead on PSV is now at 3 points. The Eindhoven competitor for the title will play on Thursday at Willem II, and will have to try to pull even.
Kasper Dolberg on the squad
Ten Hag has changed his starting line-up in one place after the game at FC Groningen. David Neres started on the bench and was replaced by Kasper Dolberg. Klaas Jan Huntelaar was suspended due to a red card, and Lassina Traoré took a seat on the bench for the first time. Just like last Saturday, Noussair Mazraoui was absent due to an injury.
Ajax made a strong start in the game, which resulted in a big opportunity for Donny van de Beek in the 3rd minute. The midfielder received a clean pass from Dusan Tadic and was able to shoot from twelve yards out. Van de Beek didn’t handle the ball properly and his shot landed wide of the target.
Erik ten Hag’s team applied a lot of pressure and remained dangerous, but didn’t create a new opportunity until 20 minutes. Hakim Ziyech, from a corner, sent the ball precisely onto De Ligt’s head. The captain sent a hard header to the goal, but Vitesse keeper Remko Pasveer made a good save.
After that, the Ajacieds had several opportunities via Ziyech, but his aim wasn’t sharp enough. Shortly before halftime, the Moroccan international did raise a cheer from the spectators. A perfect cross pass from Daley Blind over 60 meters reached Dusan Tadic. The Serb outplayed his opponent and sent the ball to Ziyech, who scored by the second post: 1-0!
Strong exit from the locker room
The Amsterdam team had the upper hand in the second half as well. In the 46th minute, Ajax had a great opportunity to score the 2-0 goal. Vitesse defender Maikel van der Werff lost possession, after which Dolberg came 1 on 1 with Pasveer. The Dane couldn’t make good on his opportunity and saw his shot fly high over the goal.
Just 10 minutes later, De Ligt was hauled down in the box and referee Kamphuis indicated the spot without hesitation. Tadic didn’t falter and made good on the penalty: 2-0. De Ligt scored the 3-0 shortly after with a header, and the goal record had been broken.
The game seemed to be a done deal when Ziyech thought he has scored the 4-0 goal, but it was disallowed by video referee Pol van Boekel. Soon afterwards, Vitesse scored brought some excitement back into the game with a goal by Nararone Foor: 3-1.
The Arnhem team saw their chance and put Ajax under pressure, but Tadic ensured the deciding goal. Van der Werff hauled substitute Ekkelenkamp down and Kampuis awarded another penalty. The club’s top scorer knew what to do with this opportunity and scored the 4-1 goal: his 24th Eredivisie goal of the season. In the end, Oussama Darfalou scored the 4-2 goal with a header, but the 3 all-important points were in the bag for the Amsterdam team.
Just two games to go and we will know if Ajax wins its 34th national championship. Two finals, but first a double clash against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League and the cup final against Willem II.