Ajax experienced a welcome, carefree game leading up to the important Champions League game at Benfica. Willem II didn’t really challenge the Amsterdam team much, and the game was basically decided 22 minutes in thanks to goals by Kasper Dolberg and Frenkie de Jong. Those two early goals were the only ones scored: 2-0.
Coach Erik ten Hag changed his team in one position for th 11th competition game of the season. David Neres was in the starting line-up, at the expense of Donny van de Beek.
Within one minute, the Brazilian player had the opening goal at his feet, but Fernando Lewis made a good save at the goal line. One minute later, Dolberg came close to scoring the first goal, but this time, it was Timon Wellenreuther who kept Ajax from scoring. In the 9th minute, Ajax completely confused the Tilburg team’s defense, but an Ajacied was offside, and Neres’ goal was invalid.
It may seem strange but in the 11th minute, the goal finally came. Dolberg shot the ball from outside the penalty kick area past the keeper. Soon after, former Willem II player Frenkie de Jong had the chance to score the 2-0 goal, but the keeper once again made the save with his hand.
Success for Frenkie de Jong
In the 22nd minute, De Jong was successful. He was able to shoot the ball in freely after a great offensive play from one side of the field to the other, in which Nico Tagliafico made the assist.
In the second half, Neres had a good opportunity in the 51st minute, but Wellenreuther rescued the ball out of his goal. With Benfica in mind, Ten Hag substituted Dolberg for Huntelaar in the 55th minute, and, 12 minutes, later, the other Dane on the field, Lasse Schöne, relinquished his place to Van de Beek.
Confidently to Portugal
In the rest of the match, Willem II showed itself more, but Andre Onana barely had any work to do. His fellow keeper on the opposite side was much busier, but was also the reason that Ajax didn’t score in the second half. Several good shots by Neres and Ziyech were brought under control by the keeper. The score remained 2-0, and the club record is matches with 8 straight games with no goals against.
But even more important was that Ajax came out of the game unscathed, and can focus on the exciting game in Lisbon next Wednesday.