Last weekend Ajax was firmly pressed against the facts by PSV. In the battle for the Johan Cruijff Scale, the team from Amsterdam was humiliated 4-0. Trainer Erik ten Hag spoke after a wake-up call and knew that his team still had quite a few steps to take before the start of the competition.
Maarten Stekelenburg returned to the team from Amsterdam after an injury. The 38-year-old goalie announced on Friday that he wants to focus completely on Ajax and therefore stops as an international.
Ajax shot from the starting blocks and completely outclassed NEC. The Nijmegen team did not know where to look and after six minutes the team of trainer Rogier Meijer was already behind. Although the team from Amsterdam still killed the first two chances, the third was hit. Sébastien Haller landed a cross from Noussair Mazraoui.
NEC had barely recovered from the goal when the visitors received a second blow. After ten minutes of play, Mazraoui headed in a cross from Dusan Tadic from close range. Four minutes later it happened again. NEC defender Bart van Rooij played the ball back hard on goalkeeper Mattijs Branderhorst with his chest, but that went completely wrong. Branderhorst thought he could snatch the ball before the line, but VAR ruled otherwise: 3-0.
Ajax continued at a killer pace, because a few minutes later Tadic decided to hurt the visitors even more with the fourth goal within twenty minutes. The captain got the ball in front of his feet with a bit of luck, didn’t hesitate for a second and lashed out devastatingly. Tadic scored his second goal of the evening before the break. The Serb happily continued where he left off last season against NEC: scoring goals and providing assists.
After the break Ajax decided to slow down a bit. Despite the fact that the team from Amsterdam still scored some great opportunities, the score did not increase further. In any case, the Ten Hag team made an excellent return on Saturday evening for the disgrace against PSV.