Ajax have consolidated their place in second spot while closing the gap on PSV to five points after a 2-1 win over AZ Alkmaar.

The game of the weekend saw Ajax travel to AZ with a number of defensive issues. Maximilian Wöber’s injury and Joel Veltman’s suspension meant Deyovaisio Zeefuik and Mitchell Dijks both came into the line-up, while Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was preferred to Kasper Dolberg.

AZ started the game strongly with Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Wout Weghorst causing plenty of problems for Ajax’s defence, while Mats Seuntjens had an effort well kept out by Andre Onana. At the other end, Pantelis Hatzidiakos prevented Ajax the opener with two goalline clearances to deny firstly Donny van de Beek and then Huntelaar.

On 25 minutes, AZ were awarded a penalty for a handball by Zeefuik and Jahanbakhsh calmly slotted in the penalty to put the hosts ahead. Just before the break, Ajax equalised when David Neres set up Huntelaar to guide the ball past Marco Bizot.

A few minutes into the second half, Hatzidiakos went from hero to villain as he pulled down Huntelaar in the box to give Ajax a penalty which Lasse Schone netted to make it 2-1.

The last half-hour was an entertaining affair as AZ pushed for an equaliser, while Ajax remained dangerous on the counter. Guus Til wasted a good chance after being set up by Jahanbakhsh while at the other end, Bizot denied Justin Kluivert.

In the 85th minute, Jahanbakhsh’s brilliant cross seemed perfect for Fred Friday to tap-in the equaliser but the substitute somehow missed the ball and it glided to safety. AZ were then reduced to ten men before the end as Jonas Svensson saw his second yellow card.

In injury time, AZ almost grabbed a point but Bizot, who came up for a corner, headed over the bar. Ajax now move three points ahead of AZ in second and remain five points off leaders PSV.


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