Ajax kicked their season off with a slender 1-0 victory at Sparta Rotterdam despite going down to ten-men early in the first-half.

Erik ten Hag was able to name Daley Blind in his starting eleven after the defender got the all clear to play. New signing Antony was on the wing, while Zakaria Labyad also started.

Ajax struggled in the opening minutes to cause Sparta danger and their task got even harder when Nicolas Tagliafico was shown a red card. Mohamed Rayhi was sent in on goal and Tagliafico brought the forward down while handling the ball. The referee pulled out a red card much to the left-back’s surprise.

Despite going down to ten men, Ajax took the lead in the 37th minute as Antony’s strike took a strange bounce off the surface which surprised Benjamin van Leer and found the net.

At the break, Henk Fraser brought in two new forwards with Emanuel Emegha and Danzell Gravenberch coming on. Abdou Harroui came close to making it 1-1 but his strike was well kept out by Andre Onana.

Sparta struggled to find a way through the Ajax defence, and the closest they came to earning a point was when Bart Vriends found himself in front of goal but he blazed over.

Ajax held on to earn their first three points of the season.




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