Ajax has handed Excelsior its biggest defeat at home. In Kralingen, the final score was 1-7. Goals by Donny van de Beek (2), Lasse Schöne, Kasper Dolberg, Jerdy Schouten (own goal) Hakim Ziyech and David Neres delivered this massive win.
The contrast couldn’t have been bigger. On Wednesday, Ajax played in front of 60.000 people in Portugal’s capital; on Sunday, the game took place in Kralingen, against Excelsior. In the midweek game, Ajax earned a critical point towards remaining in the Champions League after the winter break. In the weekend game, earning just one point would be fatal in the race for the title. But Ajax had nothing to fear in that respect.
Neres draws short end
David Neres drew the short end of the stick in Erik ten Hag’s line-up: the winger was relegated to the bench. His coach selected Kasper Dolberg on offense against Excelsior. The other 10 players were identical to the starting ones in Estadio da Luz.
Great opening phase
On the artificial turf in Rotterdam, a nice opening phase unfolded during which there were several opportunities for both Ajax and Excelsior. A shot by Koolwijk went over, and a few moments later, Ali Massaoud was just a hair short of being successful. But Ajax’s opportunities were more numerous. DusanTadic, Daley Blind, Matthijs de Ligt and Kasper Dolberg all narrowly missed scoring goals.
After Excelsior had created its own danger in front of Andre Onana in the 31stminute, Noussair Mazraoui grabbed his chance. The Moroccan shot the ball towards the front and Ajax transitioned very quickly. Via Tadic, the ball landed at Van de Beek’s right, and he shot perfectly into the far corner: 0-1.
Work of art by Schöne
One minute before the break, the Amsterdam team doubled the score. On a free kick, Lasse Schöne sent the ball past keeper Sonny Stevens: 0-2. A nice score to go into halftime with.
In the second half, the home team clearly wasn’t planning on going down quietly. This led to a good opportunity for Koolwijk, but he just missed the goal. Substitute Rasmus Kristensen proved his worth after just 3 minutes. He received a deep pass by Blind and then passed it on flawlessly. Van de Beek then sent it easily in, 0-3.
The clean sheet went up in smoke in the 53rd minute. Amsterdam native Massaoud scored after Elias Mar Omarsson had made a good pass to him after winning a hefty duel against De Ligt, 1-3. It was the first goal against for Ajax since the game at PSV. The Rotterdam team saw a good opportunity to press on and they proceeded to give the Amsterdam team a hard time. But this didn’t last long; Ajax saw to that. In the 58th minute, Dolberg scored after a fantastic back-heel pass from Van de Beek, 1-4.
After an hour, Frenkie de Jong was accorded some rest with a bag of ice for his hip, and he took a seat in the dug-out. Neres came in for him. The Brazilian saw Jordy Schouten score on his own keeper after an Ajax corner (1-5). Hakim Ziyech scored the 1-6 goal, and Neres himself grabbed his chance to score his own, 1-7. Ajax has never had such a big win at Excelsior before and the Kralingen team hasn’t ever experienced such a big defeat, either.