AZ beat Ajax with a lot of passion and fight in Alkmaar
With a lot of passion, fight, and a bit of luck in the final phase, AZ was able to win the home match against Ajax (2-1). The club from Alkmaar gave their rival from the capital their first loss of the season after a run of six straight wins. Therefore PSV is now the new leader of the Eredivisie on goal difference, two days after their much-discussed departure of Director of football John de Jong. AZ is third with a point less.
Trainer Pascal Jansen closely watched Ajax’s match against Liverpool in the Champions League. He saw how the top English club put the league leaders in the Eredivisie under pressure early. Ajax’s players rarely found a free man and were infrequently dangerous.
AZ, too, was able to disrupt Ajax’s play at an early stage. The Amsterdammers struggled again with that way of playing. They often played the ball back to goalkeeper Remko Pasveer because they could not find a teammate.
Daley Blind did get free from the pressure of AZ in the 12th minute. The left-back reached Kenneth Taylor with a long ball, giving Mohamed Kudus the chance to provide Ajax with the lead he took.
AZ leveled in the 40th minute. Mees de Wit profited off a mistake by Devyne Rensch. Jens Odgaard seemed to be offside when he scored the 2-1 deep into injury time, but the officials had correctly seen that Ajax defender Calvin Bassey stepped up too late.
Manager Alfred Schreuder subbed Davy Klaassen on for Taylor at halftime, which meant that Ajax continued to play with seven players of the current Netherlands squad. Tijjani Rijnders was close to the 3-1 at the start of the second half, but Pasveer made a good save. Yukinari Sugawara and Milos Kerkez also couldn’t get the ball past the 38-year-old goalkeeper.
With Brian Brobbey, Lucas Ocampos, and Lorenzo Lucca as extra attackers Ajax was able to trouble the home team in the last half an hour. Dani de Wit stopped Kudus from scoring the 2-2 from the goal line. Rijnders was also on the goalie when he stopped a shot from Steven Bergwijn. Dusan Tadic, Jurrien Timber, and Lucca were also unsuccessful in scoring during an exciting last phase of the match.
Reporting by ANP