Ajax has won the – always charged – game at FC Utrecht by 1-3. In a dominant first half, Kasper Dolberg scored the only goal. After the break, Dusan Tadic scored from 12 yards out. Utrecht came back 1-2, but in extra time, Frenkie de Jong decided the game.
The last game of 2018 was a tough one for Ajax: away at FC Utrecht. A difficult obstacle on their way to closing in on PSV, who had defeated AZ by 3-1.
Ajax was missing left back Nico Tagliafico because of a knee injury. Max Wober stepped in as left back, and had to contend with Gyrano Kerk. Kasper Dolberg was centre forward to receive passes from Dusan Tadic and Hakim Ziyech.
In the first half, Ajax dictated the match, during which Utrecht was limited to holding them back and counting on fast players such as Kerk, Nick Venema and Oussama Tanane. The play was thus concentrated on Utrecht’s half.
In the 3rd minute, Ajax had a good opportunity when Noussair Mazraoui could take a shot, but his attempt landed in the hands of keeper David Jensen. Utrecht created danger only very rarely.
Dolberg opens score
In the 44th minute, Ajax took a well-deserved lead. A very quick transition via Kasper Dolberg and Daley Blind was rounded off very well by the Danish striker, 0-1. In the next half-hour until the break, Ajax remained dominant, Utrecht abandoned its defensive approach more often, but the score remained the same.
Doubts with penalty situation
In the 56th minute, Tadic made a pass and Dolberg’s sleeve was pulled by Jansen. After 2 minutes of discussion and consultation with the video referee and taking a second look himself, referee Higler awarded a penalty kick. Tadic made good without hesitation: 0-2.
Soone after, Onana was the target of Utrecht supporters, who threw fireworks at the Ajax keeper. Higler thus removed players from the field, an announcement was made forbidding this from occurring again, and then sent everyone back onto the field.
With 17 minutes on the clock, Utrecht surprisingly blossomed into the game. Sean Klaiber outplayed substitute Daley Sinkgraven, made a good pass after which Nick Venema was able to score with a header, 1-2.
A blood curdling closing phase ensued, which was quite unusual because Ajax seemed to be sitting pretty. Five minute before time, Ziyech had the deciding ball at his feet, but didn’t manage to pass the keeper.
Deep in extra time, the last goal was scored. De Jong, on a pass from Ziyech, slid the ball into the goal, 1-3. Although Higler took another look at whether or not Dolberg hadn’t been offside, but he allowed the goal. Thus, 2018 ended with a good win in Utrecht. On January 20, Eredivisie play resumes with a home game against sc Heerenveen.