Ajax had no trouble with ADO Den Haag in this somewhat nerve-wracking game. After a 3-1 halftime score, the Amsterdam team broadened its lead into a 5-1 win. Daley Sinkgraven’s return in the 77th minute was a definite highlight.
Last-minute starting spot for Labyad
Just prior to kick-off, coach Erik ten Hag was forced to change his line-up. After the warm-up, it appeared that Lasse Schöne was not fit enough to start. Zakaria Labyad was his replacement. Ten Hag’s fellow coach Fons Groenendijk had many more problems. He had to miss top scorer Nasser El Khayati and Tom Beugelsdijk. And, like a FOX reporter had put it: “ADO without El Khayati is like the Rolling Stones without Mick Jagger.”
But Ajax didn’t mind the absence of go-getter Beugelsdijk, either. In the 13th minute, the home team served the eager home crowd a gorgeous attack. Via Nico Tagliafico, the ball arrived at David Neres, who sent in a beautiful header. Keeper Robert Zwinkels ticked the ball out of the upper corner. Two minutes later, Neres was successful. After hands by an ADO player, after which referee Van Boekel patiently waiting for the attack, the Brazilian’s shot made good.
Tagliafico’s header brings the game to 2-0
In the 21st minute, another goal came, and once again, it was preceded by a beautiful offense. Dusan Tadic opened up from the right side to Labyad, who was running on the left side. The latter made a pass which Tagliafico received with his head, and scored the same way: 2-0. The Ajax left back, who had had some free time last week due to a European suspension, appeared regularly in front on Zwinkels’ goal; as a result of the opponent’s 5-3-2 formation, he had no direct opponent.
Immediate retaliation after goal
After Onana had made a save in the 25th minute, he saw the ball pass him in the 38th minute. Aaron Meijers took a beautiful shot – let’s give credit where it’s due – and scored: 2-1. But Ajax wasn’t fazed. Just prior to the break, captain Matthijs de Ligt scored the 3-1 goal, and, five minutes into the second half, Donny van de Beek was the one who put the ball behind Zwinkels, 4-1.
Wöber for Van de Beek
Before an hour had been played, Ten Hag made his first substitution. Scorer Van de Beek was replaced by Max Wöber, and Daley Blind moved up one line. In the 70th minute, Kasper Dolberg came in for Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The striker had been passed over by Ten Hag, but was given the last 20 minutes to work on his season total.
On the bench
The last substitution had the fans on their feet. Daley Sinkgraven made his return after a year of being out with an injury. He came in for Labyad in the 77th minute. Six minutes later, the supporters cheered again. Dolberg, on the edge of offside, sent the ball in beautifully into the far corner for a final score of 5-1.
Ajax could thus calmly follow the events in Rotterdam, where leader PSV faced Feyenoord.