Ajax got the job done in the second half against recently promoted Fortuna Sittard. After Kasper Dolberg’s entrance, the team was able to make good on its opportunities. The Dane scored the 0-1 himself and Donny van de Beek, also a substitute, brought Hakim Ziyech into position for the 0-2. In the meantime, Andre Onana was sharp between the posts, allowing his team to maintain its lead.
Ajax’s preparations against Fortuna Sittard didn’t go smoothly. Due to a calf injury, Frenkie de Jong was unable to travel to Limburg, and in the stadium itself, Max Wöber had to quit during the warm-up, as he was ill. But the good news was that Matthijs de Ligt could resume his role at the back. Carel Eiting was in for Frenkie de Jong.
More easily said than done
Earlier that evening, PSV had won its game at NAC by 0-2, so Ajax knew what they needed to do: win, and preferably by a big margin. But that was more easily said than done. The first team was barely able to create opportunities against the hard-working, recently promoted team. If there was an opening, the Ajacieds often faltered. At the 25 minute mark, Ajax came close to scoring the opening goal. But after chances for Dusan Tadic, Hakim Ziyech and Matthijs de Ligt, the score remained 0-0.
Ten Hag’s team didn’t give up and found its strength thanks to several successful combinations. Unfortunately, their efforts always fizzled out at the last part of the attack. The closer halftime came, the greater Ajax’s opportunities – but they remained fruitless. Right before the break, Fortuna almost took the lead. Onana reacted swiftly on Ahmed El Messaoudi’s shot.
Dolberg makes the difference
In the second half, Kasper Dolberg made the difference. He came in for Huntelaar, who was having a tough match. The Dane only needed three minutes to help Ajax take the lead. The Fortuna defense missed out on Dolberg completely and he took full advantage, 0-1.
But Ajax failed to break through completely. In the final fifteen minutes, the Amsterdam team relied heavily on keeper Onana. The goalie from Cameroun made outstanding saves on shots from substitute Lazaros Lamprou and André Vigidal. A few minutes later, the game was decided. Carel Eiting missed his shot, but Ziyech scored the 0-2 in the 78th minute.
Confidently heading to Munich
It wasn’t an easy evening for Ajax, but with 3 points, 2 goals and a clean sheet, the team can travel confidently to Munich, where they will play their Champions League match against Bayern on Tuesday evening. And, after 4 straight away-games, the game against AZ awaits on Sunday, in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.