As is often the case after a football duel, the two head coaches of Ajax – PSV each saw the game from his own perspective. Peter Bosz and his fellow coach Phillip Cocu each felt that their own team deserved to win the 61st edition of Ajax – PSV. Whatever the objective truth may be: this top competition match resulted in a painful 1-1 draw. In the new calendar year, Ajax will need to make up 5 points in order to catch up to leader Feyenoord.
“If anyone was going to win this game, it should have been us”, claimed Bosz, after Cocu had expressed a similar sentiment about his own team in the ArenA’s press room. “Ajax had the biggest opportunities. We were the dominant team. Ajax deserved to win. The fact that we didn’t win is hard to swallow.” It was a case of ‘could have, would have, should have’. The harsh fact is that Ajax and PSV had ended 90 minutes of thrilling top-level football without a winner. Davy Klaassen brought the home team into the lead just after halftime. In the final minutes, former Ajacied Siem de Jong evened the game for the Brabant team, 1-1.
‘Thrilling top game’
“It was an thrilling top game, a really good match, with a lot of combat”, continued Bosz in his analysis. With a smile: “That’s one thing Phillip and I agree on.” After that, the Ajacied reviewed the key moments of the match in chronological order. Ajax tried to put pressure on PSV right from kick-off. Two early substitutions didn’t help in the mission to defeat the Eindhoven team. Anwar El Ghazi and Kasper Dolberg were both forced to the sidelines after 25 minutes because of injuries. The first was grossly hauled down by Andrés Guardado, and Dolberg was knee’d by the same PSV player. The Dane seemed to be able to continue in the match with the help of a pain-killer. However, the charge had apparently done too much damage for him to go on.
“But the guys who substituted picked it up very well”, was Bosz’s evaluation of Mateo Cassierra and Vaclav Cerny. “I have to say that the entire team did an outstanding job. You could feel that we were in good shape.” Ajax was the dominant party for a long time, and thanks to a fantastic long shot by Davy Klaassen, took the lead after 48 minutes. “Davy scored a good goal. After that, we had the chance to score another one. But, by failing to do that, we kept PSV in the game.”
Matthijs de Ligt
By bringing in Siem de Jong, the Eindhoven team gained header power. This was reason enough for Bosz to bring in Matthijs de Ligt as a substitute. The former Ajacied determined the final score in the last ten minutes: 1-1. Winter champion Feyenoord gained two points on Ajax on the final day of play of 2016. Ajax must now make up five points against the Rotterdam team. Bosz is neither the person, nor the coach, to be dismayed at this prospect. “Compared to PSV, we’re closer to Feyenoord.” Under very successful coach Frank de Boer – who bade a great farewell in the ArenA at halftime – Ajax managed to make up an even bigger defecit. At the end of that campaign, Ajax had the championship trophy in their hands. Bosz: “The club has experience with this, although I have a totally different team.”
Just like his colleague Cocu, Bosz is crystal-clear about what he expects from his selection in 2017. Ajax resumes its Eredivisie adventure on Sunday, January 15, 2017, with a game at PEC Zwolle. In the 18th round of play, Ajax will have another chance to gain ground on leader Feyenoord.