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Missed opportunities are Ajax’s undoing in Almelo

Missed opportunities are Ajax’s undoing in Almelo

Ajax did not manage to make a recovery from its midweek loss at Getafe in the Europa League.  Erik ten Hag’s team also lost at Heracles Almelo, 1-0, making this the team’s third loss in a row
Four changes took place in Ajax’s line-up compared to the game at Getafe.  Hakim Ziyech didn’t play in Almelo because he wasn’t fit enough to play, but on the other hand, André Onana returned to the squad.  Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ryan Gravenberch also received spots in the starting line-up.


Opportunities in 1st half
The latter was the author of the first threat of the game in Overijssel.  The midfielder played himself free and took a shot, but his attempt was stopped at the line by Orestis Kiomourtzoglou.  Shortly after that, Onana prevented Ajax from going down.  The goalie stopped a shot by Cyriel Dessers at close range.

In the final minutes of the first half, Ten Hag’s team came close to scoring several times.  A header by Nico Tagliafico from a corner kick was turned away.  A few minutes later, his fellow Argentinian Lisandro Martínez had a good opportunity from a corner, but his shot went wide.  The home team also escaped unharmed in extra time.  A badly played back ball by a Heracles player nearly went into his own goal, but keeper Janis Blaswich prevented this from happening.

'This 1-0 loss is the Amsterdam team’s third straight defeat in Almelo.'

Ajax was also threatening several times in the second half.  Carel Eiting, who came in for Martinez in the second half, came close, but his shot went wide.  On the opposite side of the field, Dessers also created danger, but Onana kept the league leader on track.  Dusan Tadic was closest to scoring.  The forward had the ball on his left boot, shot towards the upper corner, but the ball was grabbed.

Danilo’s debut can’t save Ajax
As the second half progressed, Ajax struggled more and more to create opportunities, so Ten Hag intervened.  The coach brought in Danilo, making his official debut for the Amsterdam team, for Ryan Babel.  However, soon after this substitution, Dessers brough Heracles into the lead with a beautiful goal, 1-0.  The forward  pivoted away nicely from Daley Blind, and sent a hard shot in.

Ajax was forced to go on the hunt for a tying goal.  Jurgen Ekkelenkamp was brought in to help with this.  But the youngster was unable to make the difference, and Ajax lost for the second time this week.  The 1-0 loss is the Amsterdam team’s third straight defeat in Almelo. 

Ten Hag’s team will play again soon.  Getafe will be their opponent in the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Thursday’s Europa League game, and an exciting game against AZ awails on Sunday.  Ten Hag’s team has a three point lead on the team from Alkmaar.