On Thursday evening Ajax managed to beat FC Utrecht with convincing figures. Five goals were already scored before half time, three of which by Zakaria Labyad. After the break, a completely different and much younger Ajax entered the lines, which led to a lower level. The final score was set at 5-1.
From the start of the match, it was Ajax that tried to seek the attack. The first goal was therefore not long in coming. Within four minutes it was Zakaria Labyad who managed to outwit the keeper. Ryan Gravenberch aimed at the post after putting Noussair Mazraoui back, but the rebound was a prey for an alert Labyad. Not long after this FC Utrecht received a penalty. Mazraoui made the foul on a Bart Ramselaar that escaped, but Simon Gustafson shot the post from eleven meters.
Two minutes after the penalty, Ajax also hit the aluminum. After a ball from Antony that was between a shot and a cross, the ball landed at Noa Lang’s feet. He stayed calm, but shot with his left full on the crossbar. In an entertaining match Antony got the next chance, but he shot a difficult ball through a FC Utrecht player wide and over. Soon afterwards, Lang still scored the 2-0. He got it played tight by Antony, after which he was given time to aim and hit hard and dry in the short corner.
Before the drinking break, there was one more chance for Ajax via Quincy Promes. He got the ball with a lot of feeling from Labyad and tried it through a subtle lob, but the keeper managed to turn. After this the drinking break followed, after which Ajax continued where it left off. The willingness was great and that led to the 3-0 in the 35th minute. Antony saw Lang go over it on the right and handed it over. Lang then gave in tightly and Nicolás Tagliafico appeared from close range to score.
This was followed by Labyad’s show, who played a very good first half. Twice he was allowed to build for a free kick and he shot one even better than the other. Twice he left the keeper completely without a chance and so he gave his team a 5-0 lead within two free kicks. Before half time, Adrián Dalmau seemed to give FC Utrecht an honorary goal, but he would have committed a foul on Daley Blind. Thus it was 5-0 at half time.
After the break, a completely different Ajax appeared. The set-up was changed in no fewer than nine places, only Maarten Stekelenburg and Lang remained standing. With the new names, the fire did not shine as much. The young Ajax players played well, but had more trouble with the final pass far into the half of FC Utrecht. The first real chance came about ten minutes after the break for Lang. Sontje Hansen put the ball back on him, after which he just hit it off the wrong side of the post.
The biggest chance for the drinking break of the second half came for FC Utrecht. Daniel Arzani could easily get through the Ajax defense with a short combination, after which he also cut out Lisandro Martínez with the greatest of ease. However, a goal against did not follow, as Stekelenburg managed to turn Arzani’s attempt. After more than seventy minutes of play, the first real chance arose for Ajax after the break. After a good return, the running-in Sergino Dest got a free chance to shoot, but he shot just wide.
Fifteen minutes before time, Stekelenburg was allowed to distinguish himself. In a one-on-one situation, the Ajax player won twice, especially the first save was of great class. In the course of the second half, the level of the first was by no means reached. There was still a chance for the team from Amsterdam just under ten minutes before the end. Lassina Traoré got a decent chance via Jurriën Timber and the whack, but he came just too short to work the ball in.
With the substitute Naci Ünüvar in the ranks, the audience in small numbers was briefly entertained towards the end of the match, but that was it. The younger Ajax was not stable enough in the second half to really put the opponent under pressure. FC Utrecht had the best chances, but did not get further than one goal after the break. So it stayed at 5-1.
Ajax first half line-up:
Stekelenburg; Mazraoui, Schuurs, Blind, Tagliafico; Álvarez, Gravenberch; Antony, Promes, Lang; Labyad.
Line-up Ajax second half:
Stekelenburg; Dest, Timber, Martínez, Rensch; Marin, Van de Beek, Taylor; Hansen, Traoré, Lang (Ünüvar 77 ‘).
Other substitutions Ajax:
Line-up FC Utrecht:
Nijhuis; Pabai, Bergström, Hoogma, Van der Maarel; Klaiber, Gustafson, Van den Berg; Church, Dalmau, Ramselaar.
Substitutions FC Utrecht:
Not yet known.
1-0 Zakaria Labyad (4′)
2-0 Noa Lang (21 ‘)
3-0 Nicolás Tagliafico (35 ‘)
4-0 Zakaria Labyad (41′)
5-0 Zakaria Labyad (45+4′)
5-1 Othman Boussaid (70 ‘)
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