Ajax reached the KNVB Cup semi-finals on Thursday evening. In Emmen, Ajax defeated Vitesse 0-4. Kolbeinn Sigthórsson made his reappearance fifteen minutes before the end. The Icelander crowned his comeback with two goals. Danny Hoesen and Lasse Schöne scored the other goals. Their next opponent will be AZ, in the ArenA.
Ajax finally managed to defeat Vitesse. After competition losses in the ArenA (0-2) and in Arnhem (3-2) last Sunday, Ajax finally drew the long end of the stick this time. Unlike four days ago, Ajax didn’t squander its lead this time. It was a good evening after which Vitesse was sent packing with a 0-4 score.
Ajax’s squad had been altered in five spots after last Sunday’s competition game against Vitesse. Ricardo van Rhijn returned from his suspension and Jasper Cillessen was in the goal, as is customary for cup matches. Lasse Schöne, Jody Lukoki and Danny Hoesen also got the nod from Frank de Boer to prove themselves in Emmen. Hoesen repaid De Boer’s faith in him after seven minutes. On a pass from Lukoki, the Limburg native slid the ball past Vitesse keeper Room: 0-1. Right in front of the visitors’ stands, he celebrated with the 200 Ajax fans who had travelled along for the game.
The match took place in a harsh setting. Because the Gelredome had been rented out for a dance event, Vitesse was displaced to Emmen for the cup game. In theory, a sold-out stadium could have provided a lively atmosphere, but the opposite proved to be true. Only 2.000 seats were occupied of the 8.500 available in the Univé Stadium.
After roughly thirty minutes, the ‘home crowd’ seemed ready to celebrate when Marco van Ginkel almost scored a tying goal. But the goal was disqualified due to offside. That moment occurred about fifteen minutes after Niklas Moisander escaped narrowly when he fouled Mike Havenaar, who had broken ahead. The Fin got a yellow card, although a red one would have been justified also.
Thanks in part to a good save by Cillessen at the end of the first half, Ajax remained undamaged in the first half. The reserve keeper reacted alertly to a Theo Janssen free kick, which landed right in front of him in the box. Shortly after the break, Cillessen also kept Ajax in the game. He made a great save after a shot in the short corner by Patrick van Aanholt, who had thundered ahead to the goal.
After an hour of play, Schöne doubled Ajax’s lead. On a pass from captain Siem de Jong, his shot hit the mark. Three minutes later, Derk Boerrigter had the third Ajax goal at his feet, but the forward’s close range shot was too high. That was a shame, as he could have decided the match with that shot. But at 0-2, they still needed to be on guard. A score like that doesn’t guarantee success, as Ajax had shown four days earlier in Arnhem when it had squandered the same lead.
Five minutes after the 0-2 goal, a dangerous Vitesse corner kick stormed dangerously towards Ajax’s goal. After Havenaar sent it in with a header, Christian Eriksen made the save at the goal line. This was a key play from the Dane, who proved his defensive worth. Thanks to his move, a Vitesse goal didn’t materialize.
Fifteen minutes before the end, Kolbeinn Sigthórsson came in after being sidelined for months due to injury. The Icelander saw some action briefly during the practice match against Vasco de Gama during the team’s training camp in Brazil, but this Vitesse game marked the first time that he was officially on the match form. The fact that he was even there at all was due to Eyong Enoh’s absence in Emmen. That same evening, Enoh was fulfilling his loan out to the English club Fulham FC.
Sigthórsson proved that he’s back with a vengeance soon after coming in. He set up a penalty kick, which, to his displeasure, he wasn’t allowed to take. But after Schöne missed the shot, he was on it like a bullet. With visible pleasure, he scored the 0-3 goal. Five minutes later, Ajax’s number 9 struck again. On a pass from Van Rhijn, he scored the fourth goal of the evening with a header. His evening – and Ajax’s – was a roaring success.
More information will follow soon about the exact date ( February 26,27 or 28) and time of the Ajax – AZ cup match. Keep a close eye on our website for the latest Ajax – AZ KNVB Cup tournament semi-final news.