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Dublin: 3°C Friday 4 December 2020

Former Man United defender scores hat-trick in Ajax win

Daley Blind was one of two men to find the net three times as the Dutch team registered their biggest home league win for over 17 years.

Ajax players celebrate a goal.
Ajax players celebrate a goal.

AJAX STAYED WITHIN two points of Eredivisie leaders PSV in spectacular fashion as Hakim Ziyech and Daley Blind scored hat-tricks in an 8-0 demolition of bottom club De Graafschap.

Blind spent four seasons at Manchester United between 2014 and 2018 as a utility player shifting between defence and midfield.

Jose Mourinho, however, did not see the Netherlands international as a regular part of his first team, and he made just seven Premier League appearances in 2017-18 before returning to his first club.

Blind is not exactly known for his goalscoring prowess, having scored just nine times in his entire club career prior to Sunday, but he stole the show against De Graafschap with his first-ever triple to keep the Eredivisie title race on a knife-edge.

Ziyech also scored three times, taking his league tally up to 10 in 13 outings in 2018-19.

There was no continental hangover in the Ajax ranks after playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek, a result that saw them narrowly miss out on top spot in Group E after a brilliant campaign.

Dusan Tadic and Noussair Mazraoui also found the net in what was Ajax’s biggest home victory since March 18, 2001, when they hammered Sparta Rotterdam 9-0.

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Matthijs de Ligt last month bemoaned the lack of competitiveness in the Dutch top flight after a 7-1 win over Excelsior.

“If we keep winning, it won’t be a problem, but we have to admit that it’s less fun,” the teenage defender said in November.

Based on those remarks he will not have enjoyed himself much on Sunday, but the home fans at the Johan Cruijff ArenA certainly had plenty to shout about – as did their unlikely hat-trick hero, who has been a pillar of the Ajax team since leaving Old Trafford.

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