The Ajax Women wanted to show off for their home crowd. With the impressive victory in the back of their mind, Suzanne Bakker’s team wanted to create a stunning match for their fans.
Despite the good intentions at sports complex De Toekomst, the match was less spectacular than the one in Switzerland. There, the Ajax Women dictated the match from the first minutes, and Quinty Sabajo opened the score within ten minutes.
Goalless first half
The chances in Amsterdam were more scarce. However, Lily Yohannes was close to scoring the 1-0 after playing merely one minute and a half. She headed the ball over the net. In the first half, Leuchter was the only other player to get two chances at scoring the opening goal. Instead of choosing for her success, she decided to pass the ball to Sabajo two times. She was unable to reach the midfielder.
In the second half, the 0-0 remained on the scoreboard for a while. But with fifteen minutes left to play, the chances followed each other in rapidly. Leuchter opened the score with a free kick hitting the net. The ball was close to being stopped by goalkeeper Noemi Benz, but the Swiss let go of the ball on the line. Images showed that the ball had passed the goal line: 1-0.
Within five minutes, Leuchter got past Benz again. After a swift Ajax attack, the striker was the one to give the final touch. The 22-year-old Ajax player made her 63rd goal in 63 matches. Ajax led 2-0 and finished the match at their own pace.
In the match’s final minutes, Soraya Verhoeve hit the crossbar with a free kick turning inwards. Verhoeve played her first minutes of the season. Scoring the 3-0 would have been the cherry on the cake, but a 2-0 victory was enough to eliminate FC Zurich.
The victory means the Ajax Women have qualified for the UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage for the first time in the club’s history. The head tournament was reached more often, but until 2021, the tournament only knew a knockout phase.
Ajax Women - FC Zürich 2-0 (0-0)
74. Leuchter 1-0
78. Leuchter 2-0
Ajax Women: Van Eijk, Noordam, Spitse (62. Kardinaal), De Sanders, Weerden (62. Verhoeve), Sabajo, Van Gool (62. Noordam), Yohannes (81. Keijzer), Grant, Leuchter (81. Tolhoek), T. Hoekstra