The disappointment was obvious in Frank de Boer’s words after elimination by Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk from European competition. Ajax won the return match in the Amsterdam ArenA (2-1) but suffered the consequences of the earlier 1-0 loss in Kiev. “The fact that we didn’t score in Kiev has cost us dearly”, said the Ajax coach.
Riechedly Bazoer and super sub Mike van der Hoorn lifted Ajax past Dnipro in Thursday’s return match. Just like what had happened to De Boer and his Ajacieds previously against Manchester United (1-2 win at Old Trafford, but finally eliminated in 2012), it was only a win on paper. In past seasons, Ajax has met its European elimination at the hands of Spartak Moscow, Steaua Bucharest and FC Salzburg.
“After the first match in Kiev, I said that 1-0 was a bad outcome. And that proved true tonight”, continued De Boer. “We failed in Kiev. Today, we did everything possible for a good outcome. We took a well-deserved 1-0 lead, and showed eagerness to score another. In the end, it was a shame that the 2-1 (by Mike van der Hoorn) came too late. There just wasn’t enough time to score the 3-1 goal. Everyone worked so hard for this.”
De Boer: “We should have won today. This elimination is bad for football in the Netherlands. But it says a lot. We should perhaps be content that we can play along with the European sub-top teams. Or actually, we still need to fight in order to be able to compete with the sub-top teams.”