Ajax won a compelling away duel on Sunday against sc Heerenveen, 1-4. Arek Milik scored two goals, bringing his total to eleven, which is already higher the club top scorers’ from last season. Veltman and Klaassen scored the other goals.
Sandwiched between its European matches against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Ajax met sc Heerenveen on Sunday in Friesland. Ajax’s line-up was significantly changed compared to the lost first match in the Ukraine. Jairo Riedewald was on central defense next to Joël Veltman because Nick Viergever was suspended and Niklas Moisander needed to quit after experiencing ankle problems during the warm-up. Davy Klaassen was at the front of midfield and Riechedly Bazoer was controlling. It wasn’t Lasse Schöne on attack, but his fellow Dane Lucas Andersen. Daley Sinkgraven also had a starting spot against his former employer.
Ajax started off in grand fashion in a match which practically guaranteed a great show. The home team left gaping holes open, which meant that the Amsterdam midfielders took advantage of taylor-made cross-passes. In the sixth minute, coach Frank de Boer’s team – he has incidentally never lost to sc Heerenveen as a head coach – took the lead. A turned away corner landed with Arek Milik, who passed keeper Nordfeldt with a venomous shot and scored his tenth goal of the season. He thus matched the club’s tops scorers from last season. Kolbeinn Sigthórsson and Davy Klaassen scored ten each last season.
Ajax continued assiduously against the mediocre Fries team. In the eleventh minute, Klaassen scored a great goal on a corner from Sinkraven, 0-2. Ajax had nothing to fear from Heerenveen for a long time, but suddenly it was all hands on deck. In the 35th minute, Slagveer had space and his attempt was sent by Veltman into his own goal, 1-2. Heerenveen smelled blood, put on full pressure and almost tied the game a minute later, but Boilesen avoided a second goal against.
Ajax took control again and took advantage of Heerenveen’s unstable defense. In the 38th minute, a free Veltman sent a header – again after a perfect corner from Sinkgraven – into the goal, 1-3.
Just before the break, the home team tried to improve the score. This time it was Veltman who, after a badly played back ball from Klaassen, prevented Uth from scoring the tying goal. Cillessen also needed to work hard to keep the two-goal lead alive, and he was successful.
At the start of the second half, Ajax was dealt a blow. Nicolai Boilesen was forced to leave the field (problems with both ankles), and was substituted by Mike van der Hoorn. While he was on the ground, play continued. Mark Uth sent a shot wide from nearby. A Heerenveen goal at this point would have resulted in a completely different match, but fortunately the home team didn’t get further that this.
When Arek Milik scored the 1-4 goal in the 67th minute, bringing his Eredivisie total to eleven, the match was done. Because even though history shows that Heerenveen often has had the resilience to play a significant role, it wouldn’t be the case this afternoon. Ajax held tight. Heerenveen was also forced to play the last fifteen minutes with only ten men after Patrick van Anholt had hauled down El Ghazi, who had broken free. Ajax substituted Andersen for Menig and Milik relinquished his spot to Zivkovic. This didn’t impact the score. Ajax won 1-4, securing its hold on second place.