The pressure on Maurice Steijn is building as Ajax lost again on Sunday. The Amsterdammers lost 1-2 to AZ in the Johan Cruijff arena to make it seven games without a win. They go into the international break 16th in the Eredivisie.
Maurice Steijn did not have Steven Berghuis and Josip Sutalo at his disposal. Both players are not fit and were replaced in the starting lineup by Amourricho van Axel Dongen and Jakov Medic. Ex-Ajax player Riechedly Bazoer returned for the Alkmaarders and started at Centre-Back.
There was little to no improvement in the performance from Ajax compared to the last few weeks. They finished the first half with zero shots on target and a goal down.
Vangelis Pavlidis smashed the ball home shortly before halftime after a clever pass by Mayckel Lahdo. The Greek striker has scored in his last eight league matches, becoming the first AZ player to do so and equaling a record set by Peter Petursson, who scored in his first eight Eredivisie matches in 1979.
Dani de Wit returned to haunt his old club by scoring the 0-2 in the second half. Again, Lahdo was the creator as he found Sven Mijnans with a superb backheel, who then smashed the ball across the goal to de Wit, who only had to put his foot against the ball to double the away side’s lead.
Ajax got a goal back against the run of play after 73 minutes played. Substitute Branco van der Boomen’s shot from outside the area was deflected by an AZ defender, leaving goalkeeper Maty Ryan with no chance.
Despite Ajax needing an equalizer, the most significant chances in the closing stages were for AZ. Pavlidis dribbled past Jay Gorter in the Ajax goal, but his cross was too high for Ibrahim Sadiq. Pavlidis’s replacement, Jens Odgaard, was also unsuccessful with an attempt from inside the box.
The whistles rang out at the Johan Cruijff Arena by the Ajax fans when the match ended. Louis van Gaal was present at the game for the first time since it was announced that he will be advising the Ajax board.
The Amsterdammers have equaled the record for their worst start to an Eredivisie season with five points from six matches. They picked up seven points in six games in the 1964-65 season and the 1988-89 season.
Things do not get easier for Ajax, with their next three fixtures after the international break being FC Utrecht away, Brighton in the Europa League, and then PSV. AZ, who are top of the Eredivisie table for the time being as PSV play later on Sunday, face Heerenveen after the break.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/10/08/pressure-maurice-steijn-builds-ajax-lose-vs-az Pressure on Maurice Steijn builds as Ajax lose again vs AZ