REPORT: AFC Ajax 4-0 Leeds United
Whites beaten at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
AFC Ajax 4 (Klaassen 2’, Schuurs 28’, Gravenberch 43’, Danilo 85’)
Leeds United 0
Ajax XI: Pasveer (GK), Schuurs (Timber 45’), Klaassen (Ekkelenkamp 60’), Gravenberch (Jensen 69’), Tadic (C) (Martha 69’), Mazraoui (Regeer 75’), Blind (Baas 61’), Martinez (Magallan 61’), Haller (Danilo 69’), Berghuis (Neres 45’), Taylor (Llansana 83’).
Subs not used: Gorter (GK), Raatsie (GK), Warmerdam.
Leeds XI: Meslier (GK), Ayling (C), Koch, Bamford, Raphinha (Costa 45’), Dallas, Rodrigo (Roberts 68’), Struijk, Harrison, Klich (McCarron 68’), Shackleton (Jenkins 79’).
Subs not used: Klaesson (GK), Summerville.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were well beaten against Dutch Eredivisie champions, Ajax. The hosts raced into a three-goal first half lead at the Johan Cruijff ArenA and then added to that in the second half, running out comfortable winners.
The hosts opened the scoring inside two minutes. Davy Klaassen was alert to Leeds playing out from the back and pressed high up against the United defence. In doing so, he won the ball and slotted into the back of the net to put his side in front.
Leeds did manage to settle into the game after the early goal and went close to equalising. Following a nice move, Robin Koch picked the ball up 25-yards or so from goal and struck a low and powerful effort. Diving to his left, Remko Pasveer tipped the ball wide of the post.
Midway through the first half, Ajax then doubled their lead. Stepping forward from defence, Perr Schuurs played a one-two with Dusan Tadic and that allowed him to stroll into the penalty area and dink the ball over the onrushing Illan Meslier.
Bielsa’s side looked to hit back immediately once again, forcing Pasveer into another good save. This time it was Raphinha who stung the palms of the Ajax stopper, with a powerful effort from outside the box.
A couple of minutes later, Rodrigo had a great chance to pull one back from a Stuart Dallas corner, but the forward put his header wide of the goal.
Shortly before the interval, the hosts would go further ahead. Ryan Gravenberch found himself in space 30-yards from goal and decided to shoot. He unleashed a powerful, swerving effort which beat Meslier and flew into the back of the net to make it three.
HALF TIME: AFC Ajax 3-0 Leeds United
Both teams made changes at the beginning of the second half, with the Whites bringing on Helder Costa to replace Raphinha in a straight swap down the right wing.
Just over 10 minutes into the second half, Leeds came within inches of pulling one back. Stuart Dallas hit a strong low effort which was palmed away, allowing Patrick Bamford to run onto the ball and from the rebound, he struck the inside of the post before the ball was cleared.
A further effort apiece followed after United had come close, with Jurgen Ekkelenkamp forcing Meslier into a save before Dallas once again was denied by Pasveer in the Ajax net.
Ajax made it four as the game entered the final five minutes. Danilo played a one-two on the edge of the Leeds area and upon receiving the ball back at his feet, he struck past Meslier into the bottom corner.
That was to be the final effort on goal and the referee brought the match to a close in Amsterdam.
FULL TIME: AFC Ajax 4-0 Leeds United
Venue: Johan Cruijff ArenA
Referee: Kevin Blom