Ajax convincingly posted their first win of the season on Sunday. Marcel Keizer’s team was clearly a cut above FC Groningen in the Amsterdam ArenA: 3-1. Goals by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Hakim Ziyech and Lasse Schöne brought in the important Eredivisie points.
Compared to the home game against Rosenborg BK (0-1), four changes took place in his starting line-up. The most important one was Amin Younes, absent due to illness. His spot on the left flank was taken over by Vaclav Cerny. Frenkie de Jong, Huntelaar and Justin Kluivert were also included in the squad.
Longing for 3 points
Ajax was longing for 3 points. This season’s slow start, four games without a win, needed to take a turn for the better. The start of the game was promising and the Ajacieds started the match refreshed.
Cerny was the author of the most danger. The Czech forward made his mark with great plays and depth. His good connection with left back Mitchell Dijks also bore fruit. Dangerous moments took place in front of the Groningen goal, but no goal was scored.
Anniversary-celebrating players make the difference
The Groningen team, who struggled with the pressure applied by their Amsterdam opponents, was given room to breathe thanks to the lack of goals. Ajax’s series of attacks decreased and the game swayed back and forth, and shots by Lars Veldwijk (save by Onana) and Hakim Ziyech (post) posed the biggest threats.
The prickles handed out by Groningen motivated the Ajacieds, who picked up the tempo shortly before the break. This gave them success, as Huntelaar, playing in his 150th Eredivisie game, broke the stalemate in the 38th minute. The 34 year-old striker was sent an outstanding pass by Hakim Ziyech, and with a flawless header, he scored the liberating 1-0 goal.
Hunt for more
The picture remained much the same in the second half: Ajax remained in control, continued to attack, and hoped to score a second goal. Ziyech took this honourable task upon himself and, on a pass from Cerny, scored the 2-0 goal with a low shot. This was the play-maker’s 50th Eredivisie goal.
Ajax seemed to be heading for an easy win, but Groningen forward Oussama Idrissi wasn’t on board with this. The substitute made a beautiful play from the left side and, with a majestic shot, he scored. Fifteen minutes to time, the tension in the Amsterdam ArenA was palpable. Substitute Lasse Schöne put an end to all doubts with a hard shot: 3-1.
Crucial duel against Rosenborg
This win gives the Ajacieds confidence, which will come in handy for Thursday’s crucial match against Rosenborg BK. In Norway, Keizer and company will need to redeem a 0-1 loss in order to qualify for the Europa League group phase.
See also: Ajax - FC Groningen in pictures