Ajax looked fresh as the team defeated ADO Den Haag 4-0 at home. After four games, Ajax has not lost a point, has not suffered a single goal against and it’s an Ajacied, El Ghazi, who is at the top of the Eredivisie’s top scorer list.
Coach Frank de Boer once again selected the same eleven players, and it seems to be paying off. Although, despite good results, Ajax had been the subject of some criticism in the first three competition matches, against ADO they seemed to have hit a crescendo.
This home game, played just three days after Ajax had secured a spot in European football in Jablonec, started off with a setback. Mitchell Dijks sustained an injury to his groin in the third minute and was forced to leave the game. Nick Viergaver was his replacement. But the substitution was seamless, causing little disruption in the match. Ajax played a lively game against ADO Den Haag, who has had a surprisingly good start to the season, and the home crowd was also in a great mood. A technical feat by Daley Sinkgraven drew loud applause and Kenny Tete also received vocal appreciation for his defending plays.
Piece of cake
But the fans really cut loose when Anwar El Ghazi scored the opening goal in the 16th minute. Davy Klaassen pushed through on the left side and passed the ball back beautifully. For Ajax’s top scorer, it was a piece of cake to score the 1-0 goal. Four minutes later, the roles were reversed. After a deep pass by Joël Veltman, El Ghazi sent the ball back to Klaassen and the captain scored his first competition goal of the season, 2-0.
Ajax was sitting pretty. With beautiful and dominant football, the Amsterdam team drove ADO back onto its own half. ADO came through sporadically in the first half, such as in the 33rd minute when Mike Havenaar almost scored the 2-1 goal. But Cillessen, with an outstanding save, kept a clean sheet even after the 303rd minute of Eredivisie play. Ajax continued to be the stronger team even after ADO’s great opportunity, but the team didn’t manage to increase its lead.
The home team failed to deal the final blow in the early stages of the second half. Daley Sinkgraven sent a beautiful shot mere centimeters wide in the first minute after the break. Arek Milik also saw his attempt, in the 50th minute, get scraped out of the goal by Hansen. But it was Joël Veltman who scored in the 58th minute. After earning a free kick, he scored the 3-0 goal himself: 3-0. Nemanja Gudelj brought the ball beautifully forward and the plagued defender, who has not been called up to the Dutch national team, scored with a fine header: 3-0.
This broad lead was De Boer’s signal to give Tete a break in the 67th minute and bring in Van Rhijn. After a fantastic play by Milik, who was stalking Hansen at the back, El Ghazi scored his sixth competition goal of the season, 4-0.
Although the match had been played out, it somehow remained exciting. Would Cillessen succeed in keeping yet another clean in this fourth game? While Ajax created one opportunity after the next via Fischer, who had come in for Gudelj, and Milik, ADO barely got close to the Dutch national team’s keeper. Thus Ajax, for the first time since January – April 2011, has not sacrificed a single goal against in six home games. They went for four games last season. “You always have to wait and see how the team will react after an away game like that, at twelve thirty, with warm weather. They did a great job. The team knew what it needed to do. I think that this was the best game of the season”, said a satisfied Frank de Boer after the game.