Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Ten Hag proud after awesome Ajax preserve perfect record with Dortmund demolition

SoccerNews in Eredivisie 19 Oct 2021

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Erik ten Hag hailed Ajax after the Eredivisie giants made it three wins from three games in the Champions League thanks to a stunning 4-0 rout of Borussia Dortmund.

Ajax produced a merciless performance in Amsterdam, where Dusan Tadic’s free-kick deflected off Marco Reus to set the tone before Daley Blind, Antony and Sebastien Haller also scored in Tuesday’s rout.

With the Dortmund demolition, Ajax have now won their opening three Champions League matches in a season for the first time since 1995-96, when they went on to reach the final, losing to Juventus on penalties.

Ajax have also scored 11 goals through three matchdays, their most at this stage of a European Cup/Champions League campaign since scoring 26 times in their first three games in the 1979-80 season.

“Of course I’m incredibly proud of my team,” Ajax head coach Ten Hag told Amazon Prime. “We produced a fantastic performance and played some incredible football.

“When two teams with this philosophy want to attack like that then it becomes an open shoot-out, which we won tonight.”

Ajax condemned Dortmund to their heaviest defeat in European competition since losing 4-0 to Sochaux in the UEFA Cup in November 2003, while it was the Bundesliga side’s heaviest ever defeat in the European Cup/Champions League.

Ten Hag added: “Being good in possession was one of our first priorities tonight. My players were exceptional in that regard and created a lot of chances.

“What pleased me most though was the way we pressed. I’m happy that we won and that we won with fantastic football, but there are three games to go.”

Haller, meanwhile, became the first African player to score in their first three Champions League appearances since Didier Drogba in 2003 – the Ivorian has six goals and two assists in his three games so far for Ajax.

He also equalled the Ajax record for scoring in consecutive Champions League matches, following in the footsteps of Patrick Kluivert (1995), Jari Litmanen (1996) and team-mate Tadic (2018).

As for man-of-the-match Blind, he scored his first goal in the Champions League since his strike for Manchester United against Benfica in October 2017.

It was his first for Ajax in the competition and came 29 years and 347 days since his father Danny Blind scored his last goal in UEFA European competition for Ajax, against FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt in the UEFA Cup in November 1991.

“We were very good on the ball in the first half,” Ajax attacker Steven Berghuis told RTL 7. “We created so many chances, we combined well, and had depth in our game.

“We made sure not to lose the ball quickly, because then you play into their hands. Instead we kept the ball for long periods, and that weakens them.”

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