It took all of one minute for Ajax to breach Heracles rearguard and for Arkadiusz Milik to score his first goal for the Amsterdam club. He was found by Lasse Schone’s delicately placed through ball and out muscled Te Wierik before slotting the ball into the bottom corner. If their task was a mamoth one at kick off, it was now overwhelming for the leagues basement club.
Rallying together, the team in black looked to gain a foothold in the affair through Tannane’s direct running and dipping shot at Cillessen. Bruns was playing further forward and looking to support Waghorst whenever he could. Ajax, although infront, looked edgy in possession and the next chance fell to Fledderus from an Ajax misplaced pass. The midfielder surged forward and struck a rasping effort that Cillessen parried behind.
Marc Overmars has been preaching to have faith in this Ajax team in the absence of Daly Blind who has joined Manchester United. At least upfront they look to have a player with the attributes of a talented centre forward. Cillessen launched a counter attack for the home side when his kick was met by the head of Milik, who found Klaassen. The Netherlands international returned the favour although his pass was slightly over hit which is why Bilic’s scooped effort was impressive.
Niklas Moisander was always looking to get the ball onto his left foot and play a sweeping diagonal pass to El Ghazi. Engberink’s fine form in the left back position prevented the Fin getting much joy in his attempts. Heracle’s pressing game was frustrating Ajax’s ability to dictate this evenly contested first half. In fact, you could say that the Dutch champions are following last season’s form that saw them win two of the first five matches.
Towards the twenty minute mark, Lasse Schone gallopped into space and played the ball to El Ghazi. On this occasion he could only shoot at Telgenkamp. Klassen turned provider for the assister to the first goal next but Schone’s shot cannoned off the post and the rebound was tamely side footed at the keeper by El Ghazi.
Almelo looked to punish the home teams dithering in the penalty area although the attempted strike by Bruns was wayward. Again Tannane bombed forward and negotiated the advances of the Ajax defence to power a shot at Cillessen. However he will rue the fact his shooting boots were left at home. Known for their ”total football”, you wouldn’t expect to see the amount of stray passes that players of both teams made. This time it was a pass from Moisander to Veldman that wasn’t misplaced but the slip by Veldman was definintly mistimed. Falling to the ground, he left Waghorst with a chance for a one on one with Cillessen. A lack of pace meant that Veldman could make up for his mistake and block the forwards’ shot.
The goal which killed the away team was made by the neat footwork of El Ghazi and dispatched by Milik for his brace. He cut inside from the right hand side and bent the ball into the left corner of the goal.
Laying caution to the wind and rolling their sleeves up is how I would describe the visitors second half start. Bruns and Fledderus were interchanging the pattern of play and battling in midfield with the energetic Sereno. As encouraging as this was there was no panache to accompany the endeavour that Stegeman’s team showed.
On 64 minutes, Andersen swept an in swinging free kick into the penalty area from the far right position. What followed was utterly bizzare in that nobody could clear the ball and it somehow found it’s way to El Ghazi, with Ajax feeling that the winger was impeded and a penalty verdict, imminent. The goal keeper made a smart save and Ajax were awarded a corner kick. El Ghazi was never far away from the action and fizzed a 30 yard free kick wide.
With ten minutes remaining, Serero looked to kill the game off by playing a one two with Milic that saw him clean through on goal. Choosing against shooting was the wrong decision and his eventual pass to Bilic only found Telengkamp. Heracles goal in the 85th minute would of made the South African feel even more guilty for spurning his golden opportunity.
Veghorst rose in the Ajax penalty area and got the trajectory to head the ball into the top corner. He was becoming menacing in attack and provided a cushioned header to set up Bel Hassani. The substitute lashed a good chance at Cillessen when he should have perhaps done better.
Boos echoed around the Amsterdam Arena as Bel Hassami found room in the penalty area and crossed the ball to the far post. Ajax were rattled and the substitutes,Zimling and Andersen were ineffectual to the events unfolding. Man of the moment, Bel Hassami, tried another hypnotising run and shot that lead to a Heracles corner. Fledderus shot wide, Bel Hassami teased and Waghorst held the ball up to no avail.
Fledderus brushed Duarte aside and won a free kick in injury time. Everybody including the goalkeeper came forward and Ajax had everybody back. The free kick was smashed towards the near post and the ball went out of play signalling the climax to a momentous fightback. This was as valiant a display as you could hope to see and Bel Hassami in particular, looks a player who should be starting for a team devoid of class.
Man Of The Match
Milik was a nuisance all game and intelligent running that resembled the watching Dennis Bergkamp.
J Cillessen D Telgenkamp
R V Rhijn M Te Wierik
J Veltman B Schenkeveld
N Moisander J Veldmate
N Boilesen M Engberink
N Viergever J Pelupessy
D Klaassen T Bruns
T Serero M Fledderus
A El Ghazi O Tannane
L Schone B Linssen
A Milik W Weghorst
N Zimling B Sibum
D Boer D Paljic
L Duarte M Koenders
K Sigthorsson S Cziommer
R Ligeon R Fij
M Van Der Hoorn I Bel Hassani
L Andersen J Navratil