The dejection was great for all Ajacieds after the dramatic tie against De Graafschap: 1-1. Both on the stands and along the edge of the field, the missed championship was mourned. After the initial disappointment had been processed in the locker room, Frank de Boer arrived to the press room for his recap of the game.
“We’ve failed to bring the title home”, said De Boer, expressing his disillusionment at failing to win the club’s 34th national title. Earlier on, the Ajax coach had congratulated PSV, and in particular his friend and fellow coach Phillip Cocu, on winning the championship. “They’re the rightful champions”, continued De Boer. “Today, we had opportunities, good ones. But after that 0-1 goal, we didn’t manage to decide the game.”
Especially after halftime, De Boer saw his Ajacieds become jittery. The Amsterdam team’s playing became more tentative. And suddenly, the team was crippled in its hunt for the title. Amin Younes (who scored the 1-0 goal) was one of the few remarkable players in this miserable situation. “There were some skirmishes”, said De Boer, referring to the few opportunities that his team had after the break. “For example, Younes was on top of his opponent. But it wasn’t meant to be for us, today. And we only have ourselves to blame for that.”
Comparison to EC 2000
The dramatic manner in which Ajax failed to win the title made De Boer think of the Dutch national team’s dramatic disqualification from the EC 2000. With two missed penalty shots, the Dutch team’s then-captain, Frank de Boer , had an unwitting part in the dramatic semi-final loss to Italy in the ArenA.
“This is a bad, terrible dream. Still hard to come to terms with, actually”, decided De Boer. “We need to process this. But it will be a while before we can do that.”