Heitinga books seventh league win in a row with Ajax in Heerenveen
Watch the summary of sc Heerenveen – Ajax
Ajax upped the pressure on leaders Feyenoord by winning the away match at sc Heerenveen 4-2. It was the seventh league win in a row for interim coach John Heitinga.
The Amsterdammers now have 55 points. Feyenoord kept their nerves in check later in the day and have three more due to the win over Volendam.
Within twenty minutes it was already 3-0 for Ajax and the match in Friesland seemed already played. Heerenveen did try to put the opponent under pressure in the early stages, but after three goals within nine minutes the resistance was already broken.
Mohammed Kudus placed the ball in the far corner in the tenth minute, out of reach of goalkeeper Xavier Mous, and that was already his eleventh goal of the season.
Six minutes later it was Edson Álvarez who, on a pass from Kudus, whipped the ball past Mous from outside the penalty area. And another three minutes later, it was Steven Bergwijn who slalomed through the Heerenveen defense and, after a nice combination with Dusan Tadic, headed in the 3-0.
For Bergwijn, it was his first premier league goal since his goal against FC Emmen exactly four months ago.
Heerenveen was completely overrun. Bergwijn shot against the post after just under half an hour, and Devyne Rensch seemed to deserve a penalty when he was pulled down by Osame Sahraoui; however, VAR pointed out to referee Jeroen Manschot that the foul was just outside the sixteen-meter area.
Coach Kees van Wonderen couldn’t stand it all any longer. In the 37th minute, he made no fewer than three substitutions: Simon Olsson, Rami Al Hajj and Ché Nunnely had to make way for Thom Haye, Sydney van Hooijdonk and Alex Timossi Andersson.
The desired shock effect then seemed to come: four minutes later Pelle van Amersfoort headed the tying goal past goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli, who was not properly positioned at substitute Haye’s cross.
It gave the citizens in the Heerenveen stands renewed courage for the second half, but seven minutes after the resumption Kenneth Taylor shot the fourth Amsterdam goal past Mous.
Two minutes later Manschot pointed to the spot for the second time after an apparent foul by Álvarez on Sahraoui, but again VAR intervened. Álvarez appeared to tap Sahraoui, but after closer scrutiny of the video footage, also according to Manschot, there was still a schwalbe.
Heerenveen then continued to try, and Ajax switched it down a notch, although substitute Brian Brobbey did hit the crossbar once more. Ten minutes before time, however, the crowd cheered once more when Van Hooijdonk headed the 4-2 past the again hesitant Rulli.
There was no frenetic finale – Van Hooijdonk did go close to making it 4-3 in injury time – but after the dramatic first half the damage for Heerenveen was not too bad.