Ajax booked a simple victory over Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday. In the Johan Cruijff Arena, John Heitinga’s team was 4-0 too strong for the Kasteelclub.
Sparta had been unbeaten in ten Eredivisie matches in a row and therefore traveled to Amsterdam with confidence. At Ajax, Davy Klaassen was in the base at the expense of Calvin Bassey. The game image for the first five minutes was very similar to Ajax’s duel with Union Berlin last Thursday. The team from Amsterdam had the ball, but did not do much with it yet. That changed in minute six, when the ball was behind goalkeeper Nick Olij via Devyne Rensch, Klaassen and finisher Dusan Tadic.
Not much later the equalizer was almost there. A Sparta shot just missed Gerónimo Rulli’s goal. Nothing happened for a while, until Mohammed Kudus had the Arena on the benches with a shot on the crossbar. Before half an hour the 2-0 was in: Kenneth Taylor was the final station after a smart ball from Tadic. The midfielder hit the far corner.
Kenneth Taylor x Dusan Tadic #AJASPA
— ESPN NL (@ESPNnl) February 19, 2023
It was one-way traffic before halftime and it was after halftime too. Shortly after the break, Ajax did run into a downer, when Edson Álvarez seemed to have to go to the side with a shoulder injury. The Mexican continued the match, but was substituted twenty minutes before the end. In the meantime, Ajax had dealt Sparta the final blow. The VAR established a penalty after an alleged foul by Shurandy Sambo on Steven Bergwijn. Referee Pol van Boekel went along with it and Tadic did not fail from eleven meters.
After the 3-0, the pace slowed considerably. Heitinga brought the sixteen-year-old talent Jorrel Hato into the final phase for Owen Wijndal. There was one more goal: Kudus shot a free kick from about twenty meters behind Olij six minutes before the end. The Ghanaian dedicated his goal to his compatriot Christian Atsu, who died in the earthquake disaster in Turkey.
Ajax is doing good business with this victory. Because AZ, PSV and FC Twente have lost points, the team from Amsterdam climbs to second place. The gap with the team from Rotterdam is three points.
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