The crisis in Amsterdam has reached a new height. Ajax has lost three games in a row for the first time in over 20 years. A makeshift Ajax squad got beaten by a poor AZ in the last minutes. 1-0.
Ajax started the match with yet another starting XI than last time. Sergiño Dest and Daley Blind joined Neres, Promes, and Labyad on the injury list. Ten Hag didn’t deem Tagliafico fit enough to start, but he was put on the bench. All these injuries meant Ajax lined up with Veltman and Mazraoui as backs, Marin and Alvarez on midfield and Martinez next to Schuurs as centre-backs.
Everyone was expecting AZ to be storming out of the gates, but this wasn’t the case at all. AZ leaned back and anticipated on the counter in the first half. This almost paid off in the 7th minute. Marin slips away in midfield and Stengs intercepts and immediately sends Boadu deep. The rapid striker comes face-to-face with Onana but isn’t able to get the ball between the posts, also thanks to disruptive defending by Martínez.
The speed of Boadu turned out to be the biggest threat for the makeshift Ajax defense. Time and again they lost him but thankfully his finishing lacked. Ajax was hardly dangerous at all and didn’t register a single shot on goal in the first half.
AZ had the first chance of the second half. Stengs set himself free in the penalty area, but his effort went wide of Onana’s goal. Ajax did get some more chances after the tea-break, though. Just before the hour mark Huntelaar got a massive chance after Bizot let go of a cross by Ziyech. The experienced striker couldn’t take full advantage of this present as he found Bizot on his way once again. Only ten minutes later Alvarez headed the ball on the post after a free-kick by Ziyech, but his effort would have been in vain either way since he was flagged for offside.
Disaster in the final minute
The Alkmaarders felt that they could score and started pushing more and more. In the 85th minute, Ajax escaped when Stengs lobbed the ball over Onana after a quick free-kick but he missed accuracy. Just before full-time Ajax’ luck was over, though. A corner in the 90th minute was headed in by Boadu, mostly due to bad defending by Schuurs. The Ajax defender was one of the better players all game but was positioned behind the striker and couldn’t prevent him from scoring.
Ajax has now lost three games in a row, for the first time in over 20 years. A week ago we were 6 points ahead of AZ and still in the Champions League and now we’re equal in points and out of the most prestigious competition in the world. On Wednesday Ajax faces Telstar for the KNVB Beker.