Ajax and Marseille share the points in an exciting 3-3 draw
Ajax drew the first match in their Europa League season on Thursday against Marseille in the Johan Cruijff Arena. The match ended 3-3 after goals by Carlos Borges, Steven Berghuis, and Kenneth Taylor. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice for the visitors, with Jonathan Clauss getting the other goal.
Manager Maurice Steijn changed his side in three places compared to the lineup last in Enschede against FC Twente last week. Anton Gaaei, Kenneth Taylor, and Carlos Forbs were chosen to replace Devyne Rensch, Sivert Mannsverk, and Chuba Akpom. Ajax fans hung banners up before the match on Thursday with the banners “We want AJAX DNA at the top! RVC, leave!” Calling for the resignation of the board. Their opponents, Marseille, have also had a chaotic few days with Spanish manager Marcelino quitting as manager after being appointed in June. The reason for his resignation was due to threats from the supporters. Jacques Abardonado took the job as interim manager.
Ajax made the perfect start, taking the lead after eight minutes played. A long ball was dealt with poorly by Marseille defender Chancel Mbemba, leaving Forbs with all the time and space to run towards the Marseille goal and finish past Pau Lopez.
Marseille striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was given a similar opportunity just a short while later after a mistake in the Ajax defence put him one-on-one with Jay Gorter, but the experienced striker did not finish as well as Forbs did, trying to chip the ball into the Ajax net.
The home side nearly doubled their lead three minutes later, and again, it was Forbs at the heart of it as he found Kenneth Taylor, whose shot was knocked out for a corner by Lopez. The corner resulted in a goal for Ajax after a well-worked corner routine. Left-back Borna Sosa’s cross was whipped in towards Steven Berghuis, who smashed the volley home to double Steijn’s side lead.
But Marseille hit back just two minutes later. Jonathan Clauss received the ball at the edge of the area before dribbling past two players and smashing it into the far corner. The French side nearly leveled the match after a mistake by Benjamin Tahirovic gave Illian Ndiaye a chance to score, but the Senegalese winger’s attempt came crashing back off the crossbar when it should have been converted.
Abardonado’s side sensed the weakness in Ajax and got their equalizer in the 38th minute. Amine Harit played the ball through to Aubameyang, who slid the ball home past Gorter before celebrating with one of his trademark front flips. Azzedine Ounahi could have sent Marseille into halftime in the lead after Clauss found him in the box, but his attempt was saved.
Ajax made another excellent start after halftime, taking the lead within seven minutes. Borges found space on the wing and pulled it back perfectly for Taylor. The midfielder’s shot went into the net via Lopez.
The home side should have put the game to bed after another mistake by Mbemba at the back. Brian Brobbey ran with the ball before playing in the Ajax captain Steven Bergwijn, who missed a golden opportunity to win the game for the Amsterdammers.
Aubameyang got his second goal in the 78th minute to level the match. The striker from Gambia had been moved to the left wing by Abardonado, and the decision proved the right one as he cut inside before firing into the net with the help of Gorter, who possibly should have done better with the attempt.
Silvano Vos was sent off in the second minute of injury time after a second yellow and was applauded by the Ajax crowd. Both sides have a match against their biggest rivals this weekend. Ajax will face Feyenoord in de Klassieker on Sunday at home, while Marseille travels to Paris to face their arch-rivals PSG.
Ajax’s next match in the Europa League is on the 5th of October at home to AEK Athens. Athens shocked many by beating Brighton in the other game of this group. Marseille will face Brighton in two weeks.