‘Proud’ Tadic leads Ajax to win over Sparta and second place in premier league
Watch the summary of Ajax – Sparta Rotterdam
Thanks to an excelling captain Dusan Tadic, Ajax recorded a simple win over Sparta Rotterdam, the number six of the Eredivisie: 4-0. As a result, the Amsterdammers climbed over AZ to second place.
When Ajax acquired Tadic from Southampton in the summer of 2018, no one could have imagined that the Serbian would become such a huge success in Amsterdam. The now 34-year-old Serb grew to become one of the most influential purchases in club history.
Alfred Schreuder struggled to find the best spot for the veteran earlier this season, and that did not help Tadic’s play. New coach Heitinga made a clear choice for Tadic as a center striker and that choice worked out well, including against Sparta. He scored his 99th and 100th official goal for the club.
Watch the Premier League standings and reactions from Dusan Tadic, John Heitinga and Sparta coach Maurice Steijn below.
Heitinga returned against Sparta to the lineup with which he began his term as Ajax coach and that meant Calvin Bassey started on the bench again after his European performance against Union Berlin (0-0) and Davy Klaassen returned to the starting lineup.
Quick goal Tadic
Tadic put the home team ahead as early as the sixth minute. Klaassen crossed hard past the far post and Tadic worked the ball into the goal with his knee. Sparta’s answer followed quickly. A shot by Koki Saito was touched and went just wide.
Sparta then got away well when a header by Mohammed Kudus hit the crossbar. After a watched seesaw from Tadic, Kenneth Taylor took the ball on his slipper in one go for the 2-0. After Sparta goalkeeper Nick Olij stopped efforts by Jurriën Timber and Steven Bergwijn, Ajax was awarded a penalty midway through the second half.
Pol van Boekel initially saw nothing in Shurandy Sambo’s push against Bergwijn, but VAR alerted the referee that Sambo had also stepped on the Ajax player’s foot. It became a penalty kick and Tadic was allowed to touch down for his anniversary goal for Ajax. He did not fail.
“I am proud to score 100 goals for my dream club,” Tadic said afterwards.
Kudus honors Atsu
Kudus provided a touching end to the match. Tadic allowed the Ghanaian to touch down for a free kick and shot the ball over the wall into the goal with his left. He celebrated the goal by showing a shirt under his Ajax shirt. “RIP Atsu,” it read, in honor of his compatriot who died in the earthquake.
Referee Pol van Boekel kept the yellow in his pocket, as it transcended soccer.