On Sunday afternoon ADO faced their biggest and fiercest rivals as they took on Ajax in the Amsterdam ArenA. Most were expecting to see ADO outclassed and outplayed during a heavy defeat. Most people I had spoken to were thinking a loss by five goals or more was likely.
ADO started with a much weakened side, yet Ruben Schaken got a chance early on, hit effort just clearing the crossbar. Then the home side began to take control. Ernesto Setkus in the ADO goal was kept busy, when he was not saving, the balls were hitting the frame of the goal. Ajax were applying plenty of pressure, yet ADO were some how keeping them at bay.
That was until the eleventh minute, Hakim Ziyech was put clear. He took his time and calmly slotted the ball inside the near post, 1-0.
Ajax’s young Danish striker Kasper Dolberg, who will go onto bigger and better clubs no doubt, really started to hurt ADO, the defence could not keep track of his movement which was opening space behind them. ADO rode their luck until the thirty third minute.
Justin Kluivert, son of former Dutch goal machine Patrick, was fouled outside the penalty area by Tom Beugelsdijk. From 25m out, Lasse Schöne curled his free-kick right into the top corner, leaving Setkus helpless, 2-0.
After half-time ADO were more aggressive in going forward. And while at 2-0, they began to open up the Ajax defence, offering up a few good chances to close the gap. Schaken first to break through, only to finish with a weak shot/cross.
Ajax forward almost scored a stunning overhead kick in the fifty second minute, his acrobatic effort smashing against the crossbar, with Setkus completely beaten. Then a minute later firing just over the bar from a wide angle.
ADO pushed again, signs of a break through were there. They were beating the off-side trap at regular intervals. Sheraldo Becker was released by a fantastic long ball from defence. The Ajax keeper, Andre Onana raced to meet him and timed his challenge to perfection. If he got it wrong, either Becker had an open goal, or it would have been a foul and a red card for the keeper.
Tyronne Ebuehi linked up with Becker to again put Schaken in with a chance, but the ball was played just too hard in front of the onrushing striker, missing a connection by the smallest margin.
Soon after it was Eduard Duplan who was released from deep. He had the pace to break forward, only his finish, under pressure just went over the bar and onto the roof of the net. ADO were growing in confidence, could ADO get a break at all. Sadly no.
In the seventy sixth minute Ajax won a corner on the left. It was whipped across and eventually fell to Dolberg to poke the ball home at the far post, killing off any chance of an ADO fight back, 3-0.
The final period saw Ajax finish with most of the possession. A 3-0 defeat was better than most expected. ADO proved they could fight and put on a display, despite missing many first choice players. The quick attacking saw them earn some pride after recent bad displays.
ADO were expected to lose, so no harm done. The next two games are must wins for ADO. At home to Vitesse on Friday, then the following week at relegation rival Go Ahead Eagles, three points there is a MUST.