After the double blow against PSV (3-0 defeat in the competition and the loss in the cup final), Ajax had to face AZ Alkmaar at 9 p.m. tonight. If Ajax wants to keep third place and make PSV even more difficult for second place, the Alkmaarders should be beaten tonight in the Johan Cruijff Arena.
Ajax did that with Rensch and Taylor in the base. The latter was back from suspension. Kudus was also back and that was good, because the Ghanaian took the place of the injured Berghuis. The first opportunity for Ajax was for Brobbey in the fifth minute. The striker heads the ball into Ryan’s hands on a pass from Bergwijn. Kudus had the chance to score the opening goal three minutes later. After an opportunity for Brobbey, the ball ended up with the Ghanaian. From the edge of sixteen he curled the ball just past the wrong side of the post. AZ was also able to counter it with two chances. Hato played well, but the midfield showed itself far too little in the first fifteen minutes.
In the second quarter of an hour AZ had a great chance through Sugawara and Reijnders, but Rulli saved Ajax again. Ajax was also not left behind after Bergwijn shot hard at the intersection with his specialty, shooting from the left with his right leg. But between minute 15 and minute 30, not much happened. It was clear again that Ajax has an unbalanced team without any chemistry between the players. Also the last 15 minutes of the first half: there is absolutely nothing in this team. That Heitinga is being taken seriously or was being considered as a trainer for Ajax 1 is ridiculous. Brobbey once again missed an almost unmissable opportunity three minutes before the break. Bergwijn hit the woodwork again in the rebound. Rest: 0-0.
Heitinga intervened and exchanged Kudus for Wijndal. That’s why Hato played in the center of the defense, Alvarez moved to midfield. Bergwijn (right) and Tadic (left) became the wingers. Bergwijn continued, but was put down by Hatzidiakos, who had to pay for it with the first yellow card of the match. The free kick 20 meters in front of the goal yielded nothing.
After that it wasn’t much. Significant was that Brobbey once again got in the way when Klaassen wanted to moor for a shot. Ajax did get chances, but the completion left much to be desired with Taylor, among others. Heitinga made another substitution and brought in Sanchez and Conceicao for Rensch and Klaassen fifteen minutes before the end. Lahdo almost gave AZ the lead, but the substitute hit the inside of the post. Bergwijn once again had a great chance, but completing the record purchase was once again ridiculously amateurish.
You can write a whole story about it, but it is clear what it is all about. Ajax waited far too long to appoint a TD, let Huntelaar and Hamstra fail with the purchase policy, let Schreuder sit far too long, Heitinga was a weak interim who seriously thought he could become a trainer of Ajax 1 and the result is a group of players without any creak or taste. Ajax is five points behind PSV with three games to go, so second place is almost impossible to reach. Two points ahead of AZ in the battle for third place. A worthless season. Ajax will have to start all over again next season. Hopefully without Heitinga and certainly without Van der Sar.
Start: 21.00 o’clock – Referee: Easy
Scoring progression: –
Ajax: Rulli; Rensch (Sánchez/74), Timber, Álvarez, Hato (yellow); Klaassen (Conceição/74), Tadic, Taylor; Kudus (Wine Valley/46), Brobbey, Mountain Wine.
Substitutes Ajax: Stekelenburg, Pasveer, Bassey, Wijndal, Lucca, Sánchez, Grillitsch, Baas, Regeer, Conceição, Godts, Vos.
AZ Alkmaar: Ryan; Sugawara, Beukema, Hatzidiakos (yellow), Kerkez; Odgaard (Lahdo/40), Reijnders, Mijnans (Mihailovic/78) (yellow)), Clasie; Van Brederode, Pavlidis (Meerdink/78).
Substitutes AZ Alkmaar: Verhulst, Deen, Mihailovic, Lahdo, Bazoer, Vanheusden, Buurmeester, De Jong, M. de Wit, Meerdink, Goes.