Ajax’s visit to sc Heerenveen on Saturday evening fulfilled every wish. The Ajacieds experienced a problem-free evening in the Abe Lenstra Stadium, and had the win in the pocket early on. In the end, the final score was 0-4, reason to be pleased. Ajax decreased its gap against PSV to 5 points and can head into Tuesday’s game against Benfica in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
Coach Erik ten Hag had made some necessary changes to his team in several positions. Wing defender Noussair Mazraoui (not fit enough to play) and Nico Tagliafico (hip injury) were absent. Ten Hag chose Rasmus Kristensen and Daley Blind for the flanks. At midfield, Frenkie de Jong had a spot – he had been missing against AZ (5-0) due to an inury.
The Ajacieds have won their last 9 games against Heerenveen and let it be known that they had every intention to continue this way. Ajax had a quick start in the Abe Lenstra Stadium and took the lead after just 2 minutes. Lasse Schöne received the ball in the middle of the Heereveen half and took a searing shot: 0-1. An amazing goal, and Schöne’s first Eredivisie goal since March 18, 2018.
Soon after, Ajax came close to scoring the 0-2 goal. Van de Beek was played free on the left side, and prepared the ball for his favourite right foot, but the ball went wide. After a strong start, the Amsterdam team’s conviction seemed to fade, and the game was more balanced. Nonetheless, Ajax continued to get opportunities, especially via Kasper Dolberg. The Dane took a long distance shot first, which went a meter wide, and, later in the first half, came up short on converting a pass from Dusan Tadic.
But Ajax increased its lead to 0-2 in the first half. A corner variation reached Frenkie de Jong on the edge of the box. The midfielder took the shot, but saw keeper Warner Hahn make the save. The keeper boxed the ball out right at the feet of Ziyech, who scored with a hard shot, 0-2.
In the first fifteen minutes of the second half, Dolberg took centre stage. In the 50thminute, the Dane was floored by Bulthuis, a Heerenveen defender. That was a foul, according to referee Ban Boekel, who indicated the point. The kick from 11 meters out was an invitation for Tadic to score the 3rdgoal.
Shortly after, Dolberg scored as well after an amazing Danish tandem. Kristensen stormed up ahead and made a neat pass ahead. Dolberg knew what to do with thips pass and scored his third goal of the season: 0-4.
Consolidate in the last half hour
It was his last goal. After 57 minutes of play, both Dolberg and Ziyech were sent off, and David Neres and Klaas Jan Huntelaar came in for them. The last half hour was flat. Ajax didn’t have to try anymore, and Heerenveen was unable to. Andre Onana needed to make 2 saves, securing his seventh clean sheet of the season. Huntelaar hit the post in extra time.