AZ Alkmaar put in a great performance and deservedly defeated Ajax 2-0 in the Johan Cruijff ArenA to move level on points with the Amsterdammers at the top of the Eredivisie.

Both sides went into the game on the back of failure in Europe. Ajax defeated Getafe 2-1 but that was not enough to progress in the Europa League, while AZ were dumped out after a 2-0 loss at LASK Linz.

AZ were unchanged but Ajax welcomed Quincy Promes, Hakim Ziyech and Nicolas Tagliafico back to the starting eleven. Ryan Babel missed out on a place on the bench as he is not match fit.

AZ won the reverse fixture 1-0 in Alkmaar and after only four minutes they found themselves ahead in Amsterdam. Fredrik Midtso played Myron Boadu in on goal and the striker calmly slotted past Andre Onana.

Ajax then had plenty of possession but they could not turn that into chances. AZ used the space in behind the hosts midfield and looked constantly dangerous on the counter attack.

Midtso was denied by Onana, while Dani de Wit put a good chance wide as AZ looked for a second. Just before the break, Onana had to come to the rescue again to stop Boadu.

Daley Blind and Perr Schuurs had shots blocked early in the second half, but AZ remained the stronger side and Oussama Idrissi was close to making it 2-0 but once again Onana denied the visitors.

Just after the hour mark, a brilliant move by AZ led by Calvin Stengs ended with Idrissi firing past Onana. However, VAR disallowed the goal for a handball by Boadu in the build-up.

That did not act as a wake-up call for Ajax and it did become 2-0 in the 74th minute. A long ball forward set Idrissi in on goal and he lobbed the ball over Onana and into the empty net.

The victory means AZ now move level on points at Ajax, who remain top on goal difference. Ajax must now pick themselves up for the KNVB Cup clash with Utrecht on Wednesday.




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