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Haller at the double as Kudus’ Ajax score dramatic winner against Waalwijk

19:55 IST 06/03/2022
Sebastien Haller Ajax vs Benfica 2022
The Ivorian was in superb form for the Lancers in their home win in the Eredivisie on Sunday

Cote d’Ivoire striker Sebastien Haller scored twice as Ajax beat Waalwijk 3-2 in the Eredivisie on Sunday.

The former West Ham striker gave the hosts a 2-0 first-half lead, but Michiel Kramer and Richard van der Venne’s efforts levelled the score after the break before captain Dusan Tadic netted on the stroke of full-time to secure three points for the Lancers in the matchday 25 fixture at Johan Cruyff Arena.

The win, consolidating Ajax’s place at the top of the table, also steered the side back to winning ways following last week’s surprise 2-1 away defeat to Go Ahead Eagles.

Haller has now registered 18 Eredivisie goals in 22 appearances, standing as the competition’s top scorer. He also has six assists to his name.

Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana was another African star in Ajax’s starting XI, while Ghana midfielder Mohammed Kudus came on in the second half.

Morocco attacker Zakaria Labyad was left on the bench, but compatriot Noussair Mazraoui was completely missing from the Lancers’ matchday squad.

Waalwijk’s starting set-up featured Said Riad Bakari, who starred for Comoros at the recent Africa Cup of Nations, Algeria defender Ahmed Touba and former Belgium U19 man of Nigeria descent Shawn Adewoye.

Morocco midfielder Yassin Oukili came on in the second half, but compatriots Iliass Bel Hassani and Ayman Azhil watched the entire match from the bench.

Haller opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, tapping home from close range after Antony delivered a ball across the face of goal.

Four minutes later, the Ivorian doubled the lead, collecting Steven Berghuis’ pass on the chest before hitting a first-time shot into the bottom left corner.

After the break, Waalwijk came back stronger and managed to pull a goal back on 50 minutes as Kramer beat the offside trap to latched on to Jens Odgaard’s pass, race towards goal and slot a shot past Onana.

Seven minutes later, the visitors completed a spectacular comeback when Odgaard teed up Van der Venne for a shot inside the box.

It was not until the 89th minute before Ajax found the winner as Tadic converted a penalty after Antony was fouled in the box.

Firmly in the lead at the top of the table, Erik ten Hag’s outfit are on course to retain the league title won last season.