Ajax has lost their UEFA Europ League play-off game to Rosenborg BK, 0-1. Samuel scored the only goal in the Amsterdam ArenA. Next week, a difficult task awaits Ajax in Trondheim to reach the UEFA Europa League.
Just like in the game against Heracles Almelo, Davinson Sánchez’s was the most noteworthy absence. In the last few days, rumours around him and a potential transfer has been rampant. Mitchell Dijks replaced the Colombian on the squad, and as a result, Nick Viergever moved over to form the central defensive duo with Matthijs de Ligt. On offense, Marcel Keizer gave the nod to David Neres. The Brazilian thus made his first appearance on the squad, at the expense of Justin Kluivert, who was relegated to the bench.
The match experienced a difficult start. Ajax was unable to create any danger because of its sloppy playing. In the fourteenth minute, Ajax had a rude awakening. Captain Joël Veltman was able to rescue a header from Nicklas Bendtner from the goal line after Ander Onana had been outplayed.
As the first half progressed, Ajax found its rhythm and created more danger. Amin Younes came closest to scoring. The German, with his trademark dribble, outplayed his opponent on several occasions. After thirty minutes of play, keeper André Hansen was able to stop a goal from the left winger, ticking the shot over the goal. Donny van de Beek, who has been performing well in European games so far, also appeared threateningly in front of the Norwegian goal several times. The biggest opportunity of the first half belonged to Neres. Unfortunately, he didn’t receive the ball well and, as a result, both teams headed into the locker room at 0-0.
At the start of the second half, Keizer let Kluivert and Klaas Jan Huntelaar warm up. After one hour of play, the coach intervened. Kluivert came in for David Neres. Seven minutes later, he brought in Huntelaar as well, who replaced Kasper Dolberg. The first danger was created by De Ligt, who was threatening on two occasions from a corner. The first time, he stumbled on the Norwegian defense, and the second time, he sent a header over the goal.
Ajax remained sloppy in its play and, Rosenborg’s strategy of stretching out the time, which they had started in the first half, didn’t help the Amsterdam team’s cause at all. In the 77th minute, Kare Ingebrigtsen’s team, who were in fact not creating any danger at all, took the lead. Adenyi Adegbenro Samuel was sent in deep, after which the Nigerian sent the ball past keeper Onana.
The Ajacieds were unable to create any more danger in the final minutes, and, as a result, Ajax was unable to book a win for the fourth game in a row. The Amsterdam team faces a tough assignment to reach the UEFA Europa League group phase. A 0-1 deficit will need to be made up in Trondheim next week.
See also: Pictures | Ajax - Rosenborg BK