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Brighton’s European campaign is well and truly underway after a 2-0 win over Ajax at the Amex Stadium. Roberto de Zerbi’s men knew that this one was a must-win fixture after picking up just one point in their opening two Group B fixtures and they duly delivered with the two goals either side of half time.
The first half was a bit of a slog with Ajax defending deep in a low block on the edge of their own penalty area. This frustrated the home side but they finally got in behind thanks to a defence-splitting pass from Lewis Dunk which put Mitoma through on the goal. The Japanese winger’s effort was saved by Ramaj in the Ajax goal but Pedro was on hand to fire in the rebound.
The game opened up more after the break which suited the Seagulls to a tee. A driving run from Simon Adingra in the 52nd minute resulted in a lofted ball through to Fati who cooly slotted the ball past Ramaj into the far corner to make it 2-0. Afterwards, Ajax had a few chances to make things interesting but they couldn’t quite get themselves back into the game and Brighton ultimately cruised to the full-time whistle.
Brighton 2-0 Ajax player ratings
26′ – Joao Pedro feels he should have a penalty after being barged over in the box but the referee waves play on
42′ – GOAL: Joao Pedro gives Brighton the lead after latching on to a rebound in the box following a Mitoma effort.
52′ – GOAL: Brighton double their lead thanks to a lovely finish from Ansu Fati.
57′ – Ajax nearly pull one back immediately but Berguis’ shot hits the post.
80′ – Buonanoote has a good opening but his effort goes straight at the goalkeeper.
Star man – Lewis Dunk – 8/10
On a night when Brighton needed their big players to step up to the plate, it was the captain Lewis Dunk who stood out more than most. The centre back didn’t let any of the Ajax forwards have a sniff all night and he dominated young Brian Brobbey who will wonder what hit him on what was a testing night in Southern England.
Dunk was also impressive on the ball and it was his pass that gave Brighton the opportunity to take the lead just before half time. Those in front of him had toiled for much of the first half but Dunk’s pass was purposeful and incisive and it put Kaoru Mitoma through on goal which ultimately led to a tap in for Joao Pedro.
Lewis Dunk tonight vs Ajax completed 164 passes from 167 touches, whilst also completing one key pass!
— JTF 𓅰 (@JakeTalksFutbol) October 26, 2023
Brighton player ratings
Jason Steele 7/10 – Saved a few half-decent efforts and his distribution was pinpoint throughout.
Joel Veltman 6/10 – Dealt with everything defensively but could have been more proactive going forward.
Lewis Dunk 8/10 – A colossal performance at the back and brought the ball out superbly.
Jan Paul van Hecke 7/10 – Alongside Dunk he was exceptional.
James Milner 6/10 – Put in a huge shift as always but was a bit sloppy in possession.
Simon Adingra 7/10 – His run for the second goal was brilliant but the pass was even better.
Billy Gilmour 5/10 – A bit sluggish and slow in possession.
Pascal Gross 5/10 – Failed to penetrate the Ajax defence in the first half which made it easy for them.
Kaoru Mitoma 7/10 – Never stopped attacking his fullback and had a few openings at goal.
Joao Pedro 7/10 – Finished nicely and linked up play well.
Ansu Fati 7/10 – A superb finish to make it 2-0 and he drove Brighton forward throughout.
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) October 26, 2023
Facundo Buonanotte 6/10 – Will feel he should have scored.
Carlos Baleba 6/10 – Showed class.
Evan Ferguson N/A
Mahmoud Dahoud N/A
Adam Webster N/A
Ajax player ratings
Diant Ramaj 5/10 – Should have done better with the opening goal.
Anton Gaaei 6/10 – Did okay against Mitoma to be fair to him but wasn’t perfect.
Josip Sutalo 6/10 – Lost track of Pedro but Ramaj shouldn’t have parried the ball out anyway.
Jorrel Hato 7/10 – Ajax’s best player and organised the defence brilliantly.
Borna Sosa 5/10 – Couldn’t live with Adingra’s pace and offered very little going forward.
Steven Berghuis 6/10 – Should have got a goal back for Ajax but played pretty well.
Benjamin Tahirovic 5/10 – Had very little impact on the game.
Kenneth Taylor 5/10 – Popped up in a few promising positions but ended up losing the ball.
Steven Bergwijn 4/10 – Couldn’t get anything going down the wing.
Brian Brobbey 4/10 – Didn’t win a single duel against Dunk.
Carlos Forbs 4/10 – Sloppy and lacked quality.
Kristian Hlynsson 5/10 – Failed to have a positive impact on his team.
Branco van den Boomen 6/10 – Should have started the game based on his cameo.
Mika Godts 5/10 – Couldn’t get into the game.
Silvano Cliff Robbie Vos N/A
Chuba Akpom N/A
Brighton 2-0 Ajax player ratings: The final word
Before the game, Roberto de Zerbi played down suggestions that this was a must-win game for Brighton but given their start to the Europa League, they did need three points here and they got them. They outclassed Ajax from the first minute until the last and they will now fancy their chances of going to Amsterdam in two weeks and replicating this result.
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