Jan 29, 2023 at 4:21 PMUpdate: 9 minutes ago
Ajax finally booked another victory in the Eredivisie on a visit to Excelsior on Sunday. The reigning national champion, led by interim coach John Heitinga, put an end to a historically bad series by winning 1-4.
Ajax led 1-2 halfway through, although the team from Rotterdam had much better chances. In the fifteenth minute, Dusan Tadic converted a penalty kick (0-1), after which Excelsior midfielder Couhaib Driouech left three great opportunities unused. In the 36th minute, the home team scored through Redouan El Yaakoubi.
Thanks to a goal by Davy Klaassen, Ajax took the lead again just before the break. In the second half Mohammed Kudus signed for the 1-3. With a margin of two on the scoreboard, Ajax was able to finish the match fairly easily. In the 83rd minute, Devyne Rensch put the 1-4 final score on the board with a brilliant goal.
The win over Excelsior is Ajax’s first victory in the Eredivisie since October 22. Since then, under trainer Alfred Schreuder, seven consecutive games have not been won. That was the first time in 58 years. It cost Schreuder his job on Thursday.
With the victory over Excelsior, Ajax immediately does good business under Heitinga, because leader Feyenoord (1-1 against FC Twente) and competitor AZ (5-5 against FC Utrecht) lost points earlier this weekend. The next match of the team from Amsterdam is against SC Cambuur on Sunday.
Top five Premier League
1. Feyenoord 19-42 (+27)2. AZ 19-40 (+16)3. PSV 19-38 (+24)4. Ajax 19-37 (+30)5. FC Twente 19-36 (+19)John Heitinga made his debut in Rotterdam as coach of Ajax. Photo: Pro Shots
Heitinga puts Bassey on the bench
Heitinga made a few changes to the line-up in his first match as Ajax coach. Tadic started against Excelsior in the striker and Kudus in the front right. That was at the expense of Brian Brobbey. Another victim was Calvin Bassey. The Nigerian was on the bench, because Heitinga preferred Owen Wijndal at left back.
It took fifteen minutes for Ajax to score for the first time under Heitinga. Tadic convincingly used a penalty kick after a foul by Sven Nieuwpoort on Klaassen. Ajax finally took the lead in the Eredivisie again.
Yet Heitinga could not be satisfied, because Ajax looked shaky in the back. Three times Driouech had a huge chance. Excelsior’s young flank player shot face to face with Ajax goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli on the post, while his other two options went just wide.
It could not continue to go well for the vulnerable Ajax. Headed in the 36th minute
El Yaakoubi scores a cross from Driouech: 1-1. Excelsior may have earned more, but it was Ajax that went to rest with a lead. Klaassen scored with a low shot in the corner.
Gerónimo Rulli kept a strong match. Photo: Pro Shots
First chance after the break is for Excelsior
In the second half, Ajax was again not convincing at first. The first big chance was therefore for Excelsior defender Maxime Awoudja, who saw his header turned by Rulli.
On the other hand, it was hit in the 61st minute. Kudus was given all the space and fired hard from the edge of the penalty area: 1-3. That was certainly the case in the Van Donge & De Roo Stadium.
Ajax could easily finish the match and work on their self-confidence. The highlight was Rensch’s 1-4. The defender curled the ball beautifully into the far corner from the side and thus ensured a nice final chord in Ajax’s first match under Heitinga.
View the results, the position and the program in the Eredivisie
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