Ajax fails to increase pressure by playing to a tie

Ajax fails to increase pressure by playing to a tie

Ajax has failed to increase the pressure on PSV.  In the lunchtime game against ADO Den Haag, the Ajacieds remained at 0-0.  Dani de Wit made his debut.

Coach Erik ten Hag was unable to stay with his trusted eleven players for the home game against ADO Den Haag.  Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Lasse Schöne had to quit early due to injuries.  Ten Hag replaced the veterans by young gun Carel Eiting and the experienced Siem de Jong. There was also a new face on the bench: De Wit had a spot on Ajax 1’s reserve bench for the first time.

Ajax played before PSV and, should it win, would come within 2 points of the leader and thus increase the pressure significantly.

Ziyech’s taylor-made passes
At kick-off, Hakim Ziyech took Ajax by the hand.  The play-maker sent taylor-made passes to David Neres and Justin Kluivert.  These passes didn’t meet with success in the first half, as Ajax didn’t get any further that shots on goal by Kluivert and Tagliafico in the opening phase.  ADO launched a green and yellow wall which put Ajax ill at ease.

Just 10 minutes prior to the break, excitement broke out on the sidelines.  Van Boekel whistled Tagliafico’s foul, and ADO simultaneously protested as Onana burst out of his goal.  Reason enough for the referee to hand out 3 yellow cards. Tagliafico for his foul, and Onana and Trevor David were held responsible for the incident.

Shortly before that, Ziyech had freed up Siem de Jong in front of Zwinkels.  But the striker was unable to extend the ball successfully.  The game remained at 0-0 at halftime and the fireworks were relegated to the second half.

For the 10th time this season, Ajax faced a stalemate at halftime.  And on only two occasions were they unsuccessful at winning the game in the second half.  The outlook was good for the Amsterdam team.  In the 50th minute, they almost scored.  Frenkie de Jong ran up ahead perfectly for a deep pass by Ziyech, but his header went just wide.

It became increasingly difficult for Ajax to find a gap in ADO’s tight defense which kept on digging in deeper, but also came out dangerously once in a while.  After one hour, ADO seemed somewhat exhausted and Ajax seemed to have found the Den Haag team’s Achilles heel.  With Siem de Jong’s header onto the post, a ball curved just wide by Ziyech and a flaming shot by Frenkie de Jong, the Amsterdam team came close to scoring.

Ball refused to go in
In the final minutes, Mateo Cassierra had an opportunity to break the stalemate when he substituted for Siem de Jong.  With just 6 minutes left, De Wit made his debut in Ajax 1 as Eiting’s substitute.  Amin Younes also came in for Kluivert.

It needed to happen now, so that PSV would start its game against Feyenoord on a back leg.  In extra time, Ajax came close, but the ball refused to go in.  Ajax squandered two important points in the race for the national championship.