Dolberg shines in dominant Eredivisie win

Ajax 5 – 0 NEC Nijmegen

With PSV dropping points against Willem II on Saturday, Ajax were in a prime position to extend the gap against their title rivals. Standing in the way were NEC Nijmegen.

NEC kicked off the first half, and that was just about the only possession they had in the opening stages of the match. This tie last season ended in a disappointing draw, and Ajax looked as though they were unwilling to let the same thing happen again. The Amsterdammers were quick to close down every loose ball and prevent NEC from moving forward.

The first true attempt of the game came from Lasse Schöne, who shot from just outside the box. His deflected shot was easily saved, but it was the first promising sign of Ajax managing to create space. Moment s later it was NEC who took the next chance, but Rayhi’s weak attempt was held by Onana.

A breakthrough came in the 19th minute, with a brilliant goal from the unstoppable Kasper Dolberg. The Danish striker ran through the NEC defence under pressure and dispatched his shot to hit the roof of the net. Yet another impressive goal from the young forward.

NEC came drastically close to levelling the score immediately after, with Rayhi’s deflected shot narrowly missing to the right. Onana came to the rescue a minute later, dropping well to save Mayi’s close range effort.

A great attacking build up led to Ajax’s second of the night, and again it was Dolberg who fired home. Captain Davy Klaassen placed a perfect cut back for Dolberg, who drove it past Delle. The French keeper had no chance. Davinson Sanchez fancied joining the score sheet with a powerful shot, but Delle saved it well.

The attacking threat from the Amsterdammers was non-stop, and NEC were struggling to get a touch on the ball let alone get out of their own half. Traoré received the ball in the centre of the box, and he should have done better with his shot. Kasper Dolberg’s already stellar performance kicked up another notch, with the Dane’s first hat-trick for Ajax. Sinkgraven’s cross found Dolberg open, and he headed it past the NEC keeper to thunderous applause. An astounding performance so far from Kasper.

A fantastic half of football from Ajax, and a brilliant show from Kasper Dolberg with his first hat-trick for Ajax. It wasn’t just the attackers who impressed, however, as Veltman and Sanchez both had great performances. I can only imagine that Peter Bosz’s half time talk is just, ‘more of the same, lads.’

HALF TIME SCORE: Ajax 3 – 0 NEC Nijmegen

Ajax kicked off the second half with so signs of slowing down. An early corner came close to giving Dolberg goal four, but he fired over the crossbar. The next chance, which the crowd adored, came from a strong Onana clearance. With a bit of luck and/or wind, it may just have looped over Delle.

It wasn’t a long wait for the second half to really kick off, and it was Bertand Traore who scored the first, with a fantastically placed shot into the bottom left corner. The Chelsea loanee had a poor first half, but a great goal to extend the lead more than makes up for that.

Relentless in their attacking, Ajax picked up their fifth goal of the match, this time courtesy of an absolute screamer from Lasse Schöne. Delle, whose night was going from bad to worse, had no chance as the ball fired into the top right corner.

After a succession of Ajax corners, Vaclav Cerny made way for youngster Pelle Clement, who made his Eredivisie debut. Goal-scorer Schöne came off for Riedewald.

The pace of the match slowed, but it was still Ajax with all of the possession, and NEC couldn’t find a way out of their half. Sinkgraven picked up an injury, and after a short period of battling on, he was subbed for Mitchell Dijks. Ajax continued to push forward, but the sixth goal eluded them, though the Amsterdammers were happy to take their time and control the tempo.

With the match winding down, NEC had their first attempt on target of the second half, but Bikel’s shot was straight at Onana. On the other end of the pitch, Clement came close to being one on one with Delle, but his touch let him down. NEC made one last tactical change to try and get something from the match, subbing Bikel for Heinloth.

The clock ticked away with Ajax still in control, and the NEC players must have been relieved to hear the final whistle blow at last.

FULL TIME SCORE: Ajax 5 – 0 NEC Nijmegen

A solid team performance from start to finish, and a strong message to title rivals. Peter Bosz has truly evolved this Ajax side into a fluid attacking machine, and its paying dividends. Up next is the home game against Panathinaikos in the Europa League.

Man of the Match: Kasper Dolberg

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