After a difficult victory over RKC, Ajax is two victories away from the 35th national title. An acrobatic tour de force by Sébastien Haller was enough to deal with the relegation candidate in the run-up to the week of truth: 0-1.
By Johan Inan
Before the break Ajax was lord and master in Waalwijk, where Sébastien Haller returned to the base at the expense of David Neres. The striker, who was not registered for the Europa League, extended a high cross from Dusan Tadic with the tip of his shoe into the top corner after fifteen minutes.
With that Haller signed for his eighth league goal and Tadic for his thirteenth assist this premier division season. The beautiful, Zlatan-like goal was the highlight of the first half. In it Antony failed to double the scoring from close range and Edson Álvarez was lucky that his striking move was punished with a yellow card by referee Bas Nijhuis.
Ajax had absolutely nothing to fear in the first half of the Brabant low flyer, who hoped to relieve the relegation worries with a stunt. Kjell Scherpen, the blundering closing post against Roma, replaced the still injured Maarten Stekelenburg again, was not once put to the test before half time.
Little changed at the start of the evening. Ajax was looking for the second goal, but for a long time was much too careless with the ball and the spaces that arose to enforce the decision. RKC could therefore continue to hope for a point. Fred Grim’s team came close to that when substitute Cyril Ngonge curled a free kick onto the crossbar. Scherpen was transfixed.
Substitute Mohammed Kudus was also unable to secure Ajax’s victory, as a result of which RKC insisted more with attacking substitutions and a more opportunistic battle plan, but Ajax could not cause any damage in the battle for the national title.
The leader can still secure the championship this month by winning the make-up game with FC Utrecht and the top match against AZ. Before the premier division resumes, Ajax first awaits another crucial week in the three-front battle. Against AS Roma, a 1-2 deficit has to be cleared away in the quarterfinals in Italy on Thursday to keep an eye on the Europa League cup, while Ajax will play the cup final against Vitesse three days later in De Kuip.
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Weak performance by Ajax at RKC, but due to acrobatic goal Haller the next step towards title | Dutch football
Source link Weak performance by Ajax at RKC, but due to acrobatic goal Haller the next step towards title | Dutch football