Ajax had to compete against the 5-4-1 formation chosen by Volendam trainer Wim Jonk. That meant small spaces in front of the Volendam goal that were difficult to penetrate with the ball.
But in the twentieth minute, Ajax cam every close to the opening goal when Edson Álvarez headed a corner from the left side on target. He found keeper Stankovic in his way.
Most dangerous man
The Mexican was the most dangerous man on the Ajax side in the first half. Just before the half, he also tested the goalie with a shot from distance that was deflected for a corner. From the sixth Ajax corner kick, Davy Klaassen came close to the first goal when the ball hit the post. But again, the goal was denied.
Right after the break, the home team tightened the screws on Volendam. Brobbey struck on target, but again a corner was all that came of it. Ajax frantically sought the opening goal.
It promptly came at the other end. Volendam was awarded a free kick in the 59th minute. Former Ajax player Eiting served up the ball beautifully for Mirani to head it in; an improbable scoreline given the state of play.
In the final 15 minutes, the trainer substituted a defender in favour of an attacker. Rensch went to the bench and Lorenzo Lucca took his place. Four minutes after his entrance, the tall Italian headed a cross from Kenneth Taylor through to Kudus, who did manage to beat Stankovic: 1-1. That was as far as Ajax got.
Ajax – FC Volendam 1-1 (0-0)
59. Mirani 0-1
80. Kudus 1-1
Ajax: Rulli; Rensch (76. Lucca), Timber, Álvarez, Bassey (59. Conceiçao); Klaassen, Berghuis, Taylor; Tadic, Brobbey, Bergwijn (59. Kudus)