Ajax experienced a disappointing start in the Eredivisie. The home game against Heracles Almelo ended in 1-1. Kristoffer Peterson and Matthijs de Ligt scored the goals in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
For centre forward Kaj Sierhuis (20), the season opener also marked his debut in the Eredivisie. Donny van de Beek and Max Wöber also had good news: they returned to the starting line up of the Amsterdam team.
Ajax makes its move before halftime
The first fifteen minutes ticked easily by. Mohammed Osman and Hakim Ziyech tempted the crowd, but otherwise things remained calm in Amsterdam until the 35thminute.
With 10 minutes to go until the break, Ajax made its move. This immediately led to 2 good opportunities. Unfortunately, Wöber (header) and Van de Beek (shot) missed their face offs with Heracles goalie Janis Blaswich. The last opportunity was rewarded with cheering from the stands. Ziyech’s cutting pass to Van de Beek was well appreciated by the home crowd.
Erik ten Hag takes action
10 minutes into the second half, Erik ten Hag had seen enough. Substitutions were needed in order to break the match open, according to the Ajax coach. Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Frenkie de Jong came in for Sierhuis and Wöber. Would they be the key to breaking through?
Ajax had possession often, and hastily sought a gap in the Heracles defense. A shot from the dangerous Ziyech wasn’t clean enough to ensure a goal. Huntelaar was close, too, but his header flew wide of the goal. In the meantime, the visitors had said goodbye to any attacking intentions, with 30 minutes left on the clock.
The game blew up about 5 minutes before time. This started off with Heracles player Kristoffer Peterson, who shot cleanly into the upper corner from 35 metres out. Ajax’s response came 4 minutes later. De Ligt made good on a corner: 1-1! The ArenA stood unified behind its team. De Ligt suffered a head injury, but this didn’t affect the final score. Ajax’s disappointing season opener was in the books.
Sharpen knives for Standard Liege
The knives will need to be sharper on Tuesday, when Standard Liege will visit the Johan Cruijff ArenA. And the 2-2 result from the last game gives both teams hope for a ticket to the Champions League playoffs.