FC Utrecht produced a stunning Eredivisie upset by seeing off title hopefuls Ajax 6-4 in a ten-goal thriller at Stadion Galgenwaard.
The Amsterdammers came into the match having suffered just one defeat all season but went away dazed from today’s encounter as Utrecht put some much-needed daylight between themselves and the relegation zone with an eye-catching display.
Nana Asare twice, Edouard Duplan, Daan Bovenberg, Jacob Mulenga and Anouar Kali were on target for the hosts – three of those goals coming in just five second-half minutes – while Ajax replied through a Dmitry Bulykin brace and further efforts by Andre Ooijer and Christian Eriksen.
Ajax appeared to suffer an early setback when Siem de Jong was forced off with an injury inside three minutes, but with eight minutes gone his replacement Bulykin was celebrating the opener as he swept home a Derk Boerrigter cross. The hosts were level on 16 minutes when Asare unleashed a left-footed shot from distance that nestled in the bottom-right corner of Kenneth Vermeer’s net.
A second Ajax injury problem saw Toby Alderweireld forced off on 17 minutes to be replaced by Ooijer, and the change at the back appeared to affect the visitors as they conceded a second within two minutes. After Mulenga’s good run was held up by the Ajax defence, the ball broke to Duplan, who lashed home from just inside the area.
Ajax were level when Ooijer emulated fellow substitute Bulykin by nodding home a Theo Janssen free-kick at the far post. Mulenga’s bicycle kick almost made it three for Utrecht moments later, but it was Ajax who were celebrating the lead on 40 minutes when Miralem Sulejmani crossed and Bulykin nodded in his second.
With four minutes of the second half gone, Bovenberg headed home Alexander Gerndt’s cross to even things up again and trigger a spell of three goals in five minutes which took the game away from Ajax.
Mulenga made it four on 52 minutes when he slotted home from the right side of the area, while moments later Asare doubled his tally after Vermeer misdirected a pass into the path of the Utrecht player.
Eriksen pulled one back for Ajax 18 minutes from time when he nodded in Gregory van der Wiel’s centre, but the final word went to the hosts five minutes into added time when another Vermeer blunder presented Kali with the chance to shoot into an unguarded net.