Both teams set up some opportunities in the opening ten minutes, but there was never any real danger. The best chance fell to AZ after fifteen minutes. A great ball from Yukinari Sugawara sent Tijjani Reijnders heading towards Gero Rulli unopposed. The Ajax goalie made a great save and the Alkmaar team failed to recapture the ball again on the rebound. Moments later, Steven Bergwijn nearly scored the opener. The winger proved very handy but his shot the post hard.
At exactly 34 minutes, Ajax again nearly made it 1-0. Dusan Tadic neatly found Brobbey and Kudus at the far post with a perfect cross, but the Ajax striker couldn't quite connect with the ball, letting it fly wide. Moments later, Brobbey had another great opportunity after some class work from Davy Klaassen. However, the Ajax striker found goalkeeper Mathew Ryan stood in his way. The rebound landed with Bergwijn, but he then hit the goalpost again: this time it was the crossbar which saved the Alkmaar team.
The Amsterdam team kicked off the second half replacing Kudus with Owen Wijndal. This meant Jorrel Hato taking over the vacancy at centre back left by Edson Álvarez, and Wijndal went into left back. Ajax's urge to attack after half-time was more than evident in the Johan Cruyff ArenA. The Amsterdam side kept up the pressure with some good set pieces, but attempts by Bergwijn and Brobbey were ultimately unsuccessful.
Although Ajax never let up, AZ came very close to taking the lead a little while later. Substitute Mayckel Lahdo raced towards the box but saw his shot go wide of the near post. The Amsterdam players failed to close in on the opposition net in the closing stages of the game too, so it all ended as it started at the Johan Cruyff ArenA: 0-0.
With the draw, Ajax could not recover from the double defeat against PSV: first in league play and then a week later in the cup final. Earlier on Saturday, Sparta – PSV ended in 0-1. The deficit to PSV, number two in the Eredivisie, is now five points. Second place secures a ticket to the preliminary rounds of the UEFA Champions League.
Ajax – AZ 0-0 (0-0)
Ajax: Rulli; Rensch (74. Sánchez), Timber, Álvarez, Hato; Taylor, Klaassen (74. Conceição), Tadic; Kudus (46. Wijndal), Brobbey, Bergwijn.