Ajax have remained in touch with leaders Feyenoord after a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Groningen.

aja-xdgronAjax were excellent last weekend in the 5-0 thrashing of NEC and the home crowd would have been expecting another rout when they took the lead after only nine minutes. Davinson Sanchez stooped to head in a corner.

However, after the opener Ajax struggled to break Groningen’s defence down and were restricted to taking shots from distance, which didn’t trouble Padt.

Groningen came out of their shell in the second half and nearly equalised through Yoell van Nief who hit the post. Down the other end Amin Younes was also denied by the woodwork as his curling strike came back off the crossbar.

Eventually, on 72 minutes, Ajax found their second goal thanks to substitute Anwar El Ghazi, who was back in the first team after being banished to the reserves for a month. The winger went down in the box after a challenge from Albert Rusnak, and Hakim Ziyech scored the resulting spot kick.

The victory keeps Ajax level on points with leaders Feyenoord while Groningen are 11th.

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