Ajax were far from their best but they did enough to see off a plucky Utrecht side 3-1 at the Amsterdam Arena.

ajajautrThe opening fifteen minutes was sloppy from both sides with Ajax allowing Utrecht a lot of space, but the visitors were unable to make it pay.

Frank de Boer urged his players forward and on 16 minutes the opening goal arrived. A corner was not cleared and Thulani Serero smashed the ball in off the crossbar from the edge of the box.

Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Arkadiusz Milik sent Davy Klaassen through on goal and the midfielder made no mistake with a nice finish though Robbin Ruiter’s legs.

It seemed inevitable that Ajax would find a third goal, but after both Ricardo Kishna and Niklas Moisander squandered chances, Utrecht were allowed back into the match with Rubio Rubin sliding the ball past Cillessen on 35 minutes.

The goal gave Utrecht hope and they began to dominate with Edourd Duplan coming close, while a cross from Rubin had Cillessen beaten, but the ball came off the crossbar.

Just after the hour mark De Boer had seen enough with Anwar El Ghazi replacing Ricardo Kishna, and a minute after coming on the winger jinked past a challenge on the edge of the box before firing low into the bottom corner. The third goal killed Utrecht’s challenge and Ajax comfortably held on to claim the three points, and De Boer allowed Richairo Zivkovic to make his Eredivisie debut for the club late on.

With PSV beating Twente, Ajax stay one point behind in the title race, while Utrecht sit  11th.

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