Ajax leave it late to beat RKC in first home game with Heitinga
John Heitinga has won his first match in the Johan Cruijff arena as Ajax manager. The retired defender saw his side beat RKC after being behind at halftime: 3-1. Ajax is back to third in the table because of the win. They are three points behind leader Feyenoord.
It is the fourth win in a row for Heitinga, who changed his starting eleven for the first time. Steven Bergwijn was not a part of the squad due to injury. Francisco Conceição took his place in the left forward position.
Ajax put RKC under pressure early on in the match. But it did not result in chances, and the home side gave a lot of space away with turnovers. Julen Lobete was close to scoring on two occasions at the start of the match.
The third chance for the Waalwijkers did result in a goal. Lobete played the ball to Mats Seuntjens, who placed the ball into the corner.
RKC could play even more defensively after the goal. Joseph Oosting’s side kept the spaces closed, with Ajax remaining patient and trying to find a gap. There was a lot of pressure on the goal, but it did not result in many chances.
Heitinga brought on defender Calvin Bassey and striker Brian Brobbey at the start of the second half for Francisco Conceição and Davy Klaassen, who played his 300th official match for Ajax. Heitinga was hoping to keep the defence closed at the back with Bassey. Edson Alvarez, a little slower, was pushed forward to midfield.
Brobbey converted his first chance of the match after 49 minutes. The striker was in the right place at the right time to convert after goalkeeper Etienne Vaessen pushed away Steven Berghuis’s attempt: 1-1. It was Brobbey’s 11th goal of the season; he scored six as a substitute.
Ajax raised the tempo, and RKC were reduced to trying to stop them. Mohamed Kudus hit the post after 64 minutes. On the other side, RKC saw a goal from Seuntjens be disallowed for offside.
Defender Jurrien Timber ensured Ajax breathed relief by scoring from close range after 78 minutes. Kudus decided the match with the 3-1.
Reporting by ANP