Frank de Boer’s face, which had been tense before the match, relaxed into a smile after the win in Eindhoven. The 0-2 victory puts Ajax in first place of the Eredivisie.
Ajax could not have asked for a better start. Within two minutes, Arek Milik’s header brought the Amsterdam team into a super-early lead. “Started with a bang”, said De Boer about the opening goal during the press conference. “Milik’s goal was fantastic. After that, we didn’t play very well, we were too far apart from each other. It was sub-par. PSV got the upper hand mostly because we weren’t compact enough. They were threatening but didn’t get one good opportunity. It wasn’t for lack of trying. We just need to all do well.”
Ajax was more stable after the break. But where Ajax saw improvements in its performance, PSV experienced a dramatic setback. It must have been a mixture of nerves and fatigue that took a toll on PSV in the second half. 120 minutes of Champions League football and a draining penalty session had an impact on Philip Cocu’s team. “We were better in the second half and PSV didn’t know what to do with us”, said De Boer, giving an Ajax perspective. “PSV became sloppy and limp. They were impatient and played many long balls. PSV made more and more mistakes. We got more room thanks to that. Locadia’s opportunity was the only big opportunity that PSV had.”
The Amsterdam team took advantage of the Brabant team’s setback. Anwar El Ghazi sealed the win fifteen minutes before the end. De Boer: “We could even have taken a bigger lead. We were a real team in the second half. I’m happy about that. It feels great to take the lead with just six games left. But it doesn’t mean anything yet.”