Tadic on fire
The Johan Cruijff Arena was lit with ‘Tadic is on fire’ chants. The captain did just that scoring two goals and an assist to take Ajax to second in the league.
Feyenoord are only three points ahead at time of writing. The rivals will have a showdown with each other on the 19th of March in the capital.
Ajax found it hard to break down Berlin last week but they were less predictable this time. They mixed it up with a combination of possession play and long balls.
Devyn Rensch delivered an inviting cross over the penalty box from right flank. Davy Klaassen meets it on the volley before a Dusan Tadic flick sees it home to open up the scoresheet. 1-0 in the 6th minute. Slick and well worked goal from Ajax.
An impressive first half dominance continued from Ajax with Mohammed Kudus getting a beautiful ball from left flank. Meeting the ball with his head, he found the crossbar before ricocheting down, away to safety.
A cheeky short ball over the top saw Kenneth Taylor with a clean finish to go two goals up. A very good finish in tight space. The dutch number eight celebrated with a trademark Marcus Rashford point to the head. Rashford is currently the highest goal scorer in Europe since the end of the 2022 World Cup in Saudi Arabia.
In the 63rd minute, the referee awarded Ajax with a penalty after overturning his original decision with VAR. Steven Bergwijn was brought down in the box after a clever flick from Tadic allowed him to make a dangerous run inside.
Tadic stepped up to the penalty, sent the keeper the wrong way shooting the ball into the left corner of the net. Ajax 3-0. Unsurprisingly, Tadic also had the highest threat xG from open play.
Just outside the penalty area, Ajax are awarded with a free kick in the 83rd minute. Kudus belts a screamer of a free kick into the top left bin. He signs off his celebration with a captioned ‘R.I.P Christian Atsu’ shirt in response to the tragic passing of footballer Christian Atsu in the Turkey earthquakes last week.
Mohammed Kudus scored his 9th league goal as Ajax won 4-0 against Sparta Rotterdam:
⁃41/46 completed passes
⁃100% tackles won
⁃9 duels won
⁃4 successful dribbles
⁃5 ball recoveries
⁃2 shots on target
⁃1 chance created
⁃1 goal pic.twitter.com/FBJWL8FPeJ
— #JoySports (@JoySportsGH) February 20, 2023
Ajax star Mohammed Kudus dedicated his goal to Christian Atsu.
The Ghanaian International scored an incredible freekick in Ajax 4-0 win over Sparta Rotterdam.
— Joy Prime (@JoyPrimeTV) February 19, 2023
Calvin Bassey came off the bench in the 70th minute. Sparta produced a small fightback but Bassey quelled the uprising with some tight tackling to keep their attack quiet and the scoresheet squeaky clean.
It was a level up from their first leg performance against Union Berlin – albeit against less competitive opponents.
John Heitinga now has four straight wins in the league for the first time since Schreuder got sacked as manager.
Ajax managed a tremendous 23 shots, 12 on target with 75% possession. The Amsterdam giants finished with an xG of 3.54 to Sparta’s 0.37.
Madness. If they even put 60% of effort of that into their European campaign, we’re cooking! Ajax were comfortable at home against familiar opponents but a bigger test awaits.
Sparta are only sixth in the table but nine points behind Ajax. If Ajax can stay in same gear against Union, they’ll need it to deal with the away noise for a tricky night in Berlin.
FT: Ajax 4-0 Sparta.
STILL UNBEATEN! ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/6vza6jZ4Fq
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) February 19, 2023