ADO swept aside by awesome Ajax

If ever the term ‘straightforward victory’ was to be looked up in a Football dictionary, then surely this match would sit as a perfect reference for such a term. Although the full-time score-line read 3-0, it could well have been worse for the side from The Hague, who can thank the uprights for keeping things somewhat respectable come the end of the game.

A first Ajax start for ‘kleine Kluivert’ was just-reward for mightily impressive performances at Zwolle and Utrecht, and the wonderkid was thrust straight into the action in this one as he had a penalty appeal turned down after going over from a Danny Bakker challenge. Undeterred, the youngster quickly bounced back, and just moments later set up Kasper Dolberg for the game’s first big chance, but the striker couldn’t convert.

Slow starts have plagued the Amsterdammers recently, with boss Peter Bosz demanding more from his side straight from the whistle, and insisting that by taking the initiative early-on, the side will find it much easier to play their game and control proceedings.

Here, Ajax put in a 90-minute performance to undoubtedly please the coach, who saw- for the first time in 6 matches- his side score a first-half goal as Dolberg sent Hakim Ziyech through on goal and the in-form midfielder calmly slotted the ball past Ernastus Setkus.

The early onslaught continued towards the ADO goal, first Dolberg struck the post, and then Amin Younes laid on a beautiful cross which the arriving Daley Sinkgraven agonisingly thumped off the crossbar from close range. Was de Godenzonen’s luck running out?

The answer? An empthatic no, from the man of the moment- Lasse Schone. The Danish midfielder seemingly trying to create his very own goal-of-the-month, following up his goal at Zwolle and wonderstrike in Utrecht last week with a free-kick of the highest order to make it 2-0. 25 yards out, Schone’s effort cleared the wall and dipped perfectly into the top corner to give the sprawling ADO keeper no chance. A sublime effort from the Eredivisie’s hottest midfielder, effectively settling the contest inside the first half.

ADO had made a woeful start to 2017, losing both of their games after the winter-break to leave them just a solitary point above the relegation play-off positions. Things were not improving in the Arena, and at 2-0 they looked a broken outfit struggling to keep up with an Ajax side in full-flow and enjoying mountains of possession.

Their best spell did, however, come just after the interval. ADO became dangerous on the counter, but failed to take their few chances as first Ruben Schaken failed to net from close range, before Eduard Duplan sent a shot just over the bar.

That spell seemed to wake up an Ajax side who had yet to leave second-gear after the break. They began to take the game to ADO again, and after a cross had been hooked back into the box, Dolberg yet again smashed the woodwork (this time the crossbar) with a stunning overhead kick. It seemed the Dane’s goal drought was going to continue, with no goal in the last 8 matches.

However, fifteen minutes before the end a corner was headed to the back post by Davy Klaassen and Dolberg was there to stab in Ajax’s third and break his duck. A huge goal for him, and for De Ajacieden who had finally wrapped up another 3 points to continue a promising start to the new year.

The striker has kept his head down and worked hard during the barren run, described by Bosz as ‘the superlative of Scandanavian cool.’ In an interview with FOX he exclaimed, ““I am glad I found the back of the net again. I wasn’t worried about my goal-drought, but it did start to annoy me. Everything that’s going on with me right now is still surreal to me. Having so many people cheering me on, it makes me want to win even more with Ajax.”

Back to the game, and 3 points, 3 goals and another clean sheet for Andrey Onana (an impressive 10th of the league campaign) who continues to impress as Ajax’s number 1.

All-in-all, a performance to delight coach Peter Bosz who was in jovial mood following the full-time whistle. Speaking to the club’s official website he said, “This was a deserved win. We kept a clean sheet and played entertaining football. I’m happy with the match. We scored great goals, created chances and hit the crossbar twice. We must now keep this going and we move on to Roda next week.”

The victory temporarily moved Ajax two points behind leaders Feyenoord, but their subsequent 4-0 win over NEC at De Kuip means the deficit to the summit remains at 5 points. A trip to fellow-strugglers Roda JC next week, coupled with Feyenoord’s tricky trip to FC Twente, will give Bosz and his side real hope of beginning to narrow the gap on the Rotterdam rivals this week.