Ajax’s winless run is now on nine matches. The Amsterdammers lost on Thursday to Brighton in the UEFA Europa League. Joao Pedro and Ansu Fati got the goals for the home side.
It was the first match for interim Ajax manager Hedwiges Maduro. The former Ajax midfielder was Maurice Steijn’s assistant, who was sacked last Monday. Maduro made one change to Steijn’s final lineup against Utrecht. Steven Berghuis was deemed fit enough after an injury to return to the side; he replaced Kristian Hlynsson, who scored two goals last weekend.
The first half was dull. Ajax defended resolutely, with Brighton having 61% possession in the first half. The match’s first chance came after 35 minutes when Kaoru Mitoma drifted towards the middle and found some space to get a pass through to striker Joao Pedro. The Brazilian striker’s attempt was saved by Ajax goalkeeper Diant Ramaj, who was put in the side as a replacement for Jay Gorter, who is injured.
Brighton took the lead just before halftime. Mitoma found space in the middle again, sending a shot toward the goal, which Ramaj saved. But Pedro was on hand to tuck in the rebound. It was 2-0 after 52 minutes. Simon Adingra chipped a clever pass to Ansu Fati, the loanee from FC Barcelona, who slid the ball into the far corner to get his fourth goal for the Seagulls.
Ajax are bottom of Group B with two points out of three games. Brighton has four points, along with AEK Athens. Marseille leads the group with five. It does not get any easier for Maduro’s side as they travel to Eindhoven on Sunday to face Eredivisie leaders PSV.