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Kudus nets eighth goal of the season, Bassey stars as Ajax put Excelsior to the sword

09:39 GMT+3 17/10/2022
Mohammed Kudus of Ghana and Ajax AA.
Mohammed Kudus came off the bench to score Ajax’s seventh goal as they thrashed Excelsior 7-1 in an Eredivisie match on Sunday.
  • Kudus took just seven minutes to score
  • Ghanaian now on eight goals this season
  • Bassey impressed after starting at left-back

WHAT HAPPENED? Kudus was a 75th minute substitute, coming on after Ajax were already 5-0 up, courtesy of goals from Jorge Sanchez, Steven Berghuis, Brian Brobbey (two) as well as Dusan Tadic and with Steven Bergwijn making it 6-0 just a minute after his introduction, the Ghanaian midfielder got in on the act eight minutes from time.

The 22-year-old fired the rebound into the bottom left corner after the ball broke to him in the box following a brilliant one-two between him and Bergwijn.

While Kudus made an impact off the bench, Calvin Bassey was part of a steady backline, having started at left-back after Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder switched Daley Blind to centre-back.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Kudus returned to the scoresheet after failing to find the target in last weekend’s league tie against Volendam, which Ajax won 4-2, as well as Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Napoli in the Champions League.

Bassey, meanwhile, hardly put a foot wrong as Ajax opened the scoring after 15 minutes before racing to a 3-0 half-time lead. Unlike in Naples where they were constantly under pressure, it was a one-sided encounter on Sunday where the Ajax backline was rarely tested even though a lapse in concentration saw them concede a 90th minute consolation for the visitors.

It was the Dutch champions’ biggest win under Schreuder, responding in ruthless fashion following the loss to Napoli which has left them on the brink of Champions League elimination.

Victory saw Ajax return to the summit of the Eredivisie table with 25 points, one adrift of bitter rivals PSV Eindhoven, after AZ Alkmaar, who started the weekend top of the table, suffered a 3-1 loss to Feyenoord on Sunday.

ALL EYES ON: Both Bassey and Kudus came into the game under scrutiny for different reasons, with the Nigerian defender having been the subject of criticism following Ajax’s heavy defeat to Napoli in both matches while the Ghanaian had failed to score in two straight games.

They both answered brilliantly at the Johan Cruyff Arena as Ajax brought the smiles back to their fans after the horror show in Europe.

THE VERDICT: Kudus has been a victim of his own success, having set the bar high this season, and he proved once again that he is still one of Ajax’s main men. He needed just seven minutes to score after coming on with what was his eighth goal of the season, already a career-high, since joining the Dutch giants.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR AJAX? The Eredivisie champions have what looks like an easy tie on paper against RKC Waalwijk on Saturday, when both Bassey and Kudus will hope to impress.