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Amsterdam, Jan 17 – A goal by Ryan Gravenberch in the first half decided the Netherlands classic for Ajax (1-0) against Feyenoord, whose coach Dick Advocaat gave entry to Argentine Lucas Pratto in the last minutes to try to turn the result around.
The former River Plate player entered the pitch in 84, he almost had no opportunity to touch the ball and did not connect with his teammate Nicolai Jorgensen, who although he snatched the title from the ‘Bear’ did not manage to score any goal, beyond one annulled by the VAR in the second part.
Ajax dominated the first half both in possession, as in arrivals to the rival area and in shots at the opponent’s goal, especially in the first half hour of play. The locals tried especially from above, looking for the head of their last winter signing, the Ivorian Sébastien Haller.
Tagliafico, who cut off a couple of Feyenoord counterattacks early in the game, was about to score the first in the 17th with a head shot that went too high. Five minutes later, Gravenberch scored the goal of the night.
The player trained at the Amsterdam school received a pass from Haller on the edge of the area and moved to the right, holding Marcos Senesi marking. In the blink of an eye, he slashed to the left, ditched the Argentine and fired a left-footed shot toward the base of the post, beating Nick Marsman.
Gravenberch, 18, thus becomes the youngest player to score a goal in the Netherlands classic, which was played without an audience as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Feyenoord responded by advancing the lines, the pressure paid off and Ajax goalkeeper André Onana, a mere spectator until that moment, saved his team in the 33rd minute. An error by the local defense led to Ridgeciano Haps being alone in front of the goalkeeper, but the Cameroonian covered the shot well.
The Rotterdam team deserved to get ahead in the second half. Despite the error in the goal, Senesi was one of the best after the break, cutting off a couple of Ajax counterattacks and joining the attack with danger.
Captain Steven Berghuis, who also had a good game, missed two clear chances, shooting too far to the right each time. Likewise, the VAR annulled a goal by Jorgensen in the 63rd due to a clear offside by his teammate Jens Toornstra.
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag entered Edson Álvarez at 73 in place of Quincy Promes to control the match. The Mexican fulfilled his role, slowing down the game every time he touched it and letting the minutes run.
Feyenoord lunged desperately for Onana’s goal and, in the last minute of injury time, had two chances that could have been two goals perfectly. The first, a shot from Leroy Fer cleared by the Ajax goalkeeper. Seconds later, a cross from Senesi to Luis Sinisterra was connected by the Colombian with the head, but his shot crashed off the crossbar.
The victory of Ajax allows them to put land in the middle in the Eredivisie and take the lead with 41 points, leaving Vitesse with 38, PSV Eindhoven with 37 and Feyenoord with 35, who have missed today the opportunity to match the Amsterdam team .
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