Another away win out in Kerkrade as Klaassen and Younes strike

It may not have been vintage stuff from Ajax in Kerkrade, but yet another 3 points, clean sheet and away win against a Roda side battling for their lives at the bottom of the Eredivisie was the perfect outcome for Peter Bosz and his men.

Four wins from four games, three of which have been away from Amsterdam, post-winter break is all that the Ajax fans and Bosz himself could have asked for. And with the leaders also yet to drop points, how crucial these results may prove to be in the race for the title.

Davy Klaassen opened the scoring in Kerkrade early in the second half, and Amin Younes sealed the victory late in extra time, his first goal of the season.

An unchanged 11 for Ajax, just one change for Roda who were full of confidence and fight following a thumping victory in the must-win encounter last week against fellow strugglers Excelsior. Their confidence was exhibited in abundance throughout the opening exchanges, not scared to push men forward and directly attack the Ajax goal.

Roda though are the league’s lowest scorers- by far. A measly 12 goals from 20 games the result of a lacklustre and impotent strike-force, which hopes at least to be boosted by the imminent arrival of winter signing Nicolas Anelka. Here again in this contest, chances came and passed for the Limburg outfit, although in the first-half Onana in the Ajax goal was seldom tested.

Meanwhile, at the other end the danger being created was mostly from the supporting midfield. Kluivert, supported from the stands by father Patrick, sent a long-distance shot just wide, while Lasse Schöne and Hakim Ziyech both found Roda goalie Van Leer in their path.

Right before the break, Amin Younes got his first good opportunity, but the German’s shot from a golden position was blocked. This proved to the build-up to a better second half during which the Ajacieds created more concrete danger in front of the opposition’s goal. The first dangerous moment was actually for Roda JC, but Mitchel Paulissen shot into the side-net when through on goal. Ajax would quickly made it count.

Straight down the other end, Ajax struck. Ziyech played a curve ball to Dolberg. The Dane then laid the ball off beautifully for Klaassen, who had stormed up in support and finished superbly with a well struck shot on the half volley inside the near post.

The Limburgers even then had two outstanding opportunities to tie the game. Both were handed to the lively forward Abdul Jeleer Ajagu, but the striker again evidenced Roda’s woes in front of goal as Onana stood his ground to pull off lose-range saves, whilst an effort was also pulled agonisingly wide of his far post. Their failure to convert their chances was again to come back to cost them a share of the points, or perhaps even more.

The score remained 0-1 for a long time. Substitute Abdelhak Nouri, on for the tiring Kluivert, shot wide from a difficult angle, before Younes’ moment to finally get off the mark for the season finally came, but was unfortunate when his shot from the edge of the box hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced away to safety. Nouri himself also hit the woodwork when he picked up a rebound following a round of pinball in the Roda box. His first shot was blocked, van der Beek’s follow-up superbly saved, before the onrushing Moroccan drilled a thumping effort crashing back off the bar via the turf.

Another chance missed, but Younes now had the bit between his teeth and was to get one more opportunity to strike before the end. He did, and this time, he wasn’t missing.

Younes was played through by a beautiful drive from the back by Veltman. The Moroccan took the ball down in acres of space, composed himself and finished with aplomb. The relief was evident amongst the Amsterdam team’s camp, the ‘uitvak’ and, naturally, for the forward himself who had finally broken his personal goal drought.

Three points again on a difficult afternoon for the Amsterdammers, but a crucial victory to at least temporarily cut the lead on leaders Feyenoord, who just a couple of hours later re-extended this back to 5 points with their own away win at FC Twente.

Promising performances all around, a great show of unity amongst the team, a forward in desperate need of goals finally off the mark. Plenty to work on though too, ahead of the visit of Sparta Rotterdam to the Arena next weekend!